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Europe and Gulf countries need to spend more to help Syria, Red Cross president says

  • Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, said there's a "lack of interest and lack of support for mutual and impartial humanitarian access to Syrian people" among the international community.
  • According to the United Nations, more than 6 million people remain displaced inside Syria and 5.48 million have fled to other countries since the start of the conflict.

European and Gulf countries need to give more cash to war embattled Syria, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told CNBC Saturday.

Violence has been escalating in Syria since an anti-regime uprising in 2011. This turned into a civil war from 2013, with rebel forces trying to bring down the Bashar Assad government. Millions of Syrians have fled the country, with many seeking refuge in Europe.

The so-called Islamic State has also managed to capitalize on the chaos — turning the Syrian war into an even bigger problem for the international community.

Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, said there's a "lack of interest and lack of support for mutual and impartial humanitarian access to Syrian people" among the international community.

People carry belongings as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2016.
Abdalrhman Ismail | Reuters
People carry belongings as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2016.

"I think this is a place where so much political considerations are overshadowing humanitarian work that to carve out a neutral humanitarian space is difficult," he said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

According to the United Nations, more than 6 million people remain displaced inside Syria and 5.48 million have fled to other countries since the start of the conflict.

In what's described as the biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, Maurer called on European and Gulf countries to step up their efforts to support the region.

"I would appreciate more assistance from many countries including from the United States, although in terms of the ICRC and some other agencies, the United States is very much among the largest donors," he said.

"I am today more interested also to encourage other donors to step up to the plate and to finance neutral humanitarian organizations and operations more generously and this certainly is true for some Europeans states, Gulf states as well as other important countries," Maurer added.