News / Middle East

    UN Chief Renews Plea for Syrian Refugee Aid

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, second from left, chats with Syrian refugee woman at camp in Islahiye, Gaziantep province, Turkey, Dec. 7, 2012.
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, second from left, chats with Syrian refugee woman at camp in Islahiye, Gaziantep province, Turkey, Dec. 7, 2012.
    Dorian Jones
    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made an appeal Friday for additional international support for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled conflict in Syria.

    Visiting Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey, the U.N. chief expressed frustration over the lack of aid for the region's growing humanitarian crisis. With winter now fast approaching and the conflict appearing to be intensifying along with the looming threat of chemical weapons, observers warn that the crisis could become even more dire.

    "I therefore call upon and appeal most urgently to the international community, and particularly the countries in this region, to provide on an urgent basis the humanitarian assistance," he said during a stop at Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp along the Syrian border. "We need your caring hands to those helpless people."

    Jordan and Turkey have faced the brunt of the humanitarian fallout from the Syrian conflict.

    Stopping at a Turkish refugee camp that is home to more than 8,500 Syrians, Ban also voiced anger at the increasing cost of the 21-month conflict and expressed serious concerns about reports that Syrian President Bashar al Assad is planning to use chemical weapons against armed rebels attempting to topple his government, saying it would be an "outrageous crime."

    According to Zahid Huque, who is helping to coordinate U.N. humanitarian efforts with the Turkish government, Ankara's ability to meet the growing humanitarian needs is being pushed to the limit.

    "So far the winter came a little late, but is now getting very, very strong, and some of the capacity of the camps is actually getting exhausted," said Huque. "The international community needs to put in lots of resources so Turkey can really expand its facilities faster than the rate of influx of the civilians."

    Analysts say it would be politically difficult for Ankara to turn away refugees when poorer countries like Jordan are continuing to receive them. But even if Turkey continues with its open-door policy, it is facing new challenges. With the crisis showing few signs of ending and the fighting appearing to intensify, Huque warns that steps must be taken to address the long-term psychological needs of the refugees.

    "I think the conflict itself has changed the mindset, as well as staying in a camp for a long time, away from their homes, and the rest of the family," he said. "Although the government is providing very good standards for facilities to stay in, they also need counseling support particularly."

    Turkey has introduced controls on refugees entering the country, but insists no refugees are being turned away. The government has spent more than $500 million helping the refugees and made urgent appeals for international assistance.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said there is some frustration at the lack of response to their appeals, and warns that Turkey's ability to provide assistance is not limitless.

    "Well, the open-door policy is continuing and we will try and implement it as long as possible, in order [to] help Syrian people who are escaping from persecution, from violence or the threat of violence, or sometimes certain death," he said. "But of course our means are limited, and that is why I was referring to the lack of international assistance. At the moment, we're hosting 136,000 people in 14 camps. What we have been doing is based only on our national resources."

    Unal said they especially need cash, as well as containers, tents and blankets. Already thousands of Syrians are living in makeshift camps just across the Turkish border.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    December 08, 2012 11:12 AM
    Assad won't pay for the inconvenience he has imposed on the people of Syria, it is disgusting it is called systematic genocide. It's too bad the world wouldn't do more to end Assad and his psychotic killing spree on civillians. 90% of the thousands killed are civillians.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora