News by region: Middle East


Saudi Arabia donates $59 million to UN agency assisting Palestine refugees

4 February – Shelters, schools and health centres in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan will benefit from $59 million donated by Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East under three agreements signed today.


Record $10 billion pledged in humanitarian aid for Syria at UN co-hosted conference in London

4 February – Heads of State and Government met in London today at an international conference on Syria, with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laying out three main objectives: raising $7 billion in immediate humanitarian aid, mustering long-term support, and protecting civilians.


UN mediator suspends intra-Syrian talks for three weeks

3 February – Just two days after declaring the official start of delayed intra-Syrian talks in Geneva to end five years of bloody warfare, the United Nations mediator suspended them for three weeks today following differences between Government and opposition delegations on the priority of humanitarian issues.


Crucial UN aid reaches Syrian town cut off by fighting for three years

3 February – Working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), the United Nations refugee agency has delivered crucial humanitarian aid to a rural town near Damascus that has been cut off by fighting for three years, stranding thousands of residents in dire conditions without clean water or fuel for warmth.


Senior UN humanitarian official deeply concerned at Israel’s administrative detention practices

2 February – A senior United Nations humanitarian official today voiced deep concern at the administrative detention of more than 525 Palestinians in Israeli jails and detention centres, including one who has been on hunger strike for over two months.


UN envoy for Syria meets with Government delegation in Geneva

2 February – The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria today met with a delegation from the country’s Government, one day after meeting with representatives of the opposition High Negotiation Committee (HNC), which he said had officially begun the UN-mediated intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.


With 4 million Syrian children out of school, $1.4 billion sought by UN to save ‘lost generation’

2 February – With four million Syrian and host community children in need of education and no let-up in sight in the fighting tearing the country apart, the United Nations and its partners are seeking $1.4 billion at a major conference in London on Thursday to save the current youth generation.


UN-brokered Intra-Syrian talks officially start in Geneva with opposition meeting

1 February – The delayed intra-Syrian talks to end five years of bloody warfare officially started in Geneva today with two hours of talks between the United Nations mediator and the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC).


Op-Ed: Don't shoot the messenger, Israel – Ban

1 February – In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended — with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse. That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.


Don’t just seek to resolve war once it erupts, prevent it in the first place, says UN chief

1 February – Speaking in a region that is witnessing widespread turmoil – from Syria to Yemen – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Oman’s National Defence College today that preventing conflicts rather than resolving them once they have erupted is the surest path to stability.