As the number of refugees fleeing Syria rises, host states have sought international aid to help cope with the influx. And while Syrian refugees and the opposition are receiving aid, the incumbent regime still has a few remaining supporters.
During her visit to Turkey on Saturday, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the allocation of $5 million in aid for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in addition to $25 million in nonlethal aid, which includes communication equipment, medical supplies, intelligence assistance and body armour that the US is already giving the Syrian opposition.
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague announced on Friday £5 million sterling in aid to the Syrian opposition. Hague told reporters at a press conference that the aid will go to “unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists and civilians.” He also added that Britain was holding discussions with the Free Syrian Army’s political arm, according to BBC news.
Germany has offered € 10 million to help improve the water supply in north Jordan, the area hosting the most Syrian refugees, according to Jordan Times. The grant was signed on Tuesday, allocating €8.5 million to developing water resources, and the remaining €1.5 million UNHCR.
“Germany appreciates Jordan’s hosting of Syrian refugees and wants to assist in addressing resulting pressures, especially since Jordan has its own challenges to handle,” Germany’s Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel was quoted as saying in the Jordan Times.
France is also contributing aid to Syrian refugees. A second makeshift hospital was set up in the Jordanian refugee camp of Zaatari by French medics on Saturday, according to AFP.
Meanwhile the Al-Assad regime is still receiving some support.
Officials told BBC news that Bouthaina Shaaban, Bashar Al-Assad’s senior aid, flew to China on Tuesday in order to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Yet, in an attempt to tone down the implications of such a move, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang claimed in a statement that China’s main intention has always been to balance “its work between the Syrian government and the opposition.”
“Receiving Shaaban in China is part of the above-mentioned work by the Chinese side,” BBC news quoted Qin as saying, adding that a Chinese invitation to Syrian opposition is likely.
Similarly, an oil deal was reached between Syria and Russia ten days ago, following a Syrian delegation’s visit to Moscow.
According to Reuters, the deal involves exchanging Syrian crude oil with refined Russian crude products, which the regime needs to continue fighting against the Syrian rebels.
The deal alleviates some of the pressure on Al-Assad’s regime imposed by European Union sanctions banning the import of Syrian oil by European companies.
Both Russia and China have vetoed resolutions attempting to impose sanctions on Al-Assad.
The Jordanian government claims to be hosting 150,000 Syrian refugees. The UNHCR’s latest report is putting the number of registered refugees at 45,869.
The Zaatari refugee camp witnessed clashes between Syrian refugees and Jordanian forces on Monday, where Syrian refugees protested poor living conditions of the camp, according to Reuters. It marks as the first time such clashes have occurred in Jordan, though a similar incident took place in Turkey almost three weeks ago.