Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in London to attend a conference on the ongoing Syrian crisis. The Supporting Syria & the Region conference is co-hosted by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the UN and focuses on how to step up efforts to assist millions of Syrians displaced by the conflict, which started in 2011.
Buhari is to use this opportunity to "continue his push for more global understanding, collaboration and support for Nigeria and other countries in the front lines of the war against terrorism who are striving to overcome its very adverse effects on affected populations," Buhari's spokesperson Femi Adesina said in a statement.
The leader is to return to Nigeria at the weekend. On 3 February, Buhari attended a special session at the European Parliament in Strasburg, where he reiterated Nigeria's commitment to strengthening cooperation with the international community to eradicate corruption and end terrorism and criminal activities.
Global responsibility to end Syria war
During the London conference, secretary general Ban Ki-moon said: "The international community bears a heavy responsibility for failing to end the crisis in Syria. The situation is not sustainable – we cannot go on like this. Today, let us change the narrative. Let us bring true hope to the people of Syria and the region."
The conflict in Syria started in 2011, when President Bashar al-Assad faced an armed uprising that erupted in the wave of pro-democracy protests across the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring. Assad tried to crush the uprising with the support of its allies.
The country quickly descended into war − still continuing today − resulting in the death of more than 240,000 people, with civilians often being targeted by air and ground attacks from both sides. As a result, more than four million people have fled the country seeking asylum, six-and-a-half million are internally displaced and at least 13.5 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.