From the EU, an article on talks 6 and 7 September 2013 by EU foreign ministers is of added value, as a a joint communication June 2013 from the Commission, "Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis", mapping out a comprehensive EU approach in response to the conflict and its consequences both in Syria and its neighbouring countries.

The joint communication aims to support a political process that brings a sustainable solution to the crisis; prevent regional destabilisation from the spill-over of the conflict in neighbouring countries; address the dramatic humanitarian situation and assist affected populations; address the consequences of the conflict on and in the EU. The communication also highlights the actions and initiatives already taken by High Representative Catherine Ashton and the European Commission.

The situation in Syria has been deteriorating drastically, with more than 93,000 deaths and 1.6 million refugees as of June 2013. It is the most dramatic humanitarian situation facing the world today. As the largest humanitarian donor for the crisis, the EU has so far mobilised more than 850 million euros from humanitarian and non-humanitarian budget instruments. However, the severity of the crisis and human suffering in Syria and the neighbouring countries cannot be solved with extra money alone. This is why it is crucial to rapidly find a lasting political solution, which guarantees an end to the violence and leads to an inclusive transitional government. This can only be reached through dialogue. Helping to reach this political solution lies at the heart of the EU's action and underpins the comprehensive approach presented in this joint Communication.

The Communication proposes in concrete terms:

  • support for a political settlement (Geneva II Conference on Syria);

  • ensure access of humanitarian assistance to all war-affected areas;

  • increase EU budget financial assistance by around €400M in 2013;

  • develop derogations to the sanctions regime to provide support to the population;

  • support the UN in dealing with claims of human rights and international humanitarian law violations;

  • promote solidarity with particularly vulnerable persons who may be proposed for resettlement on EU territory;

  • prevent radicalization of EU citizens and deal with EU foreign fighters that have travelled to the conflict zone;

  • prepare for the post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation phase.