The Syrian regime is exerting great pressure on the United Nations to finance its projects in energy, housing, services and industry sectors, as the UN is trying to satisfy all parties in a “problematic” and “illogical” way.
After the United Nations Development Program provided $1 million in funding to rehabilitate the yeast production department in the Homs Sukkar factory, pro-regime media reports confirm now that the UN has reached a cooperation agreement with the Syrian government that will contribute to the reconstruction of the infrastructure, including the electricity sector.
The agreement covers the period 2022-2024. The United Nations said it would apply the national standards and principles adopted by Syria in its first voluntary report on the Sustainable Development Goals for 2020.
According to the pro-regime media, the framework depends on coordination between the Syrian government and the United Nations to support people’s resilience and early recovery, as unemployment and poverty were identified as two social and economic challenges.
The framework also supports “universal and equitable access to safe water and clean sanitation, contributing to the rehabilitation of basic infrastructure associated with the provision of basic and social services, emergency restoration of damaged housing, support for small-scale rehabilitation of electricity systems and support for space and land management services.”
Pressure on donors
Media reports illustrate the extent of the United Nations’ openness to the Syrian government, according to Karam Shaar, research director at the Center for Policy and Operations Research.
“The United Nations,” Shaar said, “repeatedly pressures donor countries to allow it to deal with the institutions of the Syrian regime.”
Shaar tells al-Modon that “the United Nations is under tremendous pressure from the Syrian regime. On the other hand, it suffers from real Western restrictions regarding dealing with the Syrian regime, so the United Nations seeks to balance the regime’s pressures and the requirements and conditions of donor countries so that it can – in one way or another – satisfy all parties.”
He believes that “attempting to satisfy all parties, including the Syrian regime, is problematic. It is illogical to try to satisfy the party that caused the most destruction in Syria and is the most corrupt and criminal party, just because the requirements of reality force it to do so.”
The way the United Nations operates in Syria appears problematic because it leads to the strengthening of the Syrian regime while claiming to support Syrians residing in the government-controlled areas. The priority, however, should be directed towards supporting the private sector and individuals, not the Syrian government institutions.
The United Nations claims that the support projects are not directed at the central government in Damascus but the local government. However, the Syrian government confirms that these projects are being carried out in direct agreement with the central government.
The loyalist media reiterates that the cooperation agreements with the United Nations come despite U.S. sanctions that prevent support for these sectors, which helps the Syrian government.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.