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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs