Berlin/Damascus (dpa) – Germany has increased its aid efforts in the last remaining rebel area in Syria due to the dire humanitarian situation there, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin told dpa.
This year funds amounting to 42 million euros (46 million dollars) were made available, the ministry said. Last year, Germany spent 37 million euros in humanitarian aid in the region.
The money was primarily intended to meet the basic needs of internally displaced persons and the local population.
The region around the town of Idlib in north-western Syria is the last large rebel-held area in the country. Government troops started an offensive in April, supported by airstrikes from its ally Russia.
According to the UN, more than 500,000 people have been displaced since then. The already catastrophic humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by the regime offensive, the German Foreign Ministry said.
Around three million people live in the area, more than half of them displaced. Many of them stay in tents on fields or in olive groves.
The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by the fact that Syrian and Russian air raids continue to hit hospitals and other vital infrastructure.
Critics of the Syrian government and its allies accuse them of intentionally targeting them.
A German push for a ceasefire in Idlib in the UN Security Council failed in September because of Russian resistance.
Neighbouring Turkey fears a rush of refugees to its border and further towards Europe if the offensive continues.
In Idlib, Germany is primarily supports aid projects helping to provide health services, water, shelter and relief supplies.
It also supports the so-called White Helmets, a volunteer rescue organization.
The Idlib region is dominated by the Islamist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militia, an al-Qaeda affiliate. Syria and Russia say they are fighting terror groups