News / Middle East

UN: Syrian Government Uses Aid as Weapon of War

Residents arrive on foot to inspect their homes in the al-Hamdeya neighborhood, after the cessation of fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Homs city, Syria, May 9, 2014.
Residents arrive on foot to inspect their homes in the al-Hamdeya neighborhood, after the cessation of fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Homs city, Syria, May 9, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
A senior United Nations official accuses the Syrian government of using humanitarian aid as a tactical weapon of war. The official says the conflict, which started more than three years ago, is becoming dramatically worse with no place in Syria untouched by death and destruction.
 
The United Nations reports 9.6 million people inside Syria are affected by the war and the number is growing. It says 6.5 million are internally displaced. More than 2.7 million have fled to refuge in neighboring countries.
 
The director of operations for the Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, said 5,000 people are being killed every month, and more than 150,000 people already have died since the war began.
 
"We are becoming numb to the scale and the extent of the brutality of this conflict on ordinary people," said Ging. "We are at the limit of what we can do. We are at the limit. Our colleagues are putting their lives on the line. Our colleagues are losing their lives in this conflict and yet we cannot reach millions."
 
Ging said people in the country have run out of coping mechanisms. Public facilities, like education, health and other services, are collapsing. He said people are reduced to the very basics of survival.
 
He said U.N. aid agencies are having great difficulty helping 3.5 million people living in hard to reach areas. He said there is great concern about the well-being of more than 240,000 civilians in besieged areas.
 
Ging noted that the number of people wounded in this long-running war is escalating, but he said they are not receiving the treatment they desperately need. He said medical supplies are being removed from convoys as part of a strategy to deny the wounded medical care. He called this an abomination and put the blame on the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad..

"Denying humanitarian access is a tactic in this conflict and starvation, increasing the misery of those in places that are besieged, places that are denied access to humanitarian assistance is a tactic that is being utilized and it is not acceptable," he said. "In terms of who are taking the medical supplies out of the convoys, it is the government of Syria."  
 
Ging is appealing to the international community for support. He said people need outside help to get food, water, medical care, and other essential supplies. He said aid agencies are doing their best, but there is only so much they can do without money. And that, he said, is dwindling by the day.
 
The U.N. has launched a record $6.5-billion humanitarian appeal to aid Syrians inside the country and refugees in neighboring countries of asylum. Less than one-fourth has been received.
 
  • This scene taken from amateur video shows the explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
  • This scene taken from amateur video shows an explosion that destroyed the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
  • Syrian rebels detonated a huge bomb underneath the Carlton Hotel, completely demolishing it. Seen here are forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad standing on the debris of the fallen hotel, in historic Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
  • Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad stand on debris of a hotel used by al-Assad's forces, in historic Aleppo May 8, 2014.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter helps another wounded rebel fighter, Al-Amariya district, Aleppo, May 8, 2014.
  • This photo shows Free Syrian Army fighters posing for a group photograph, exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, before leaving Homs, May 7, 2014.
  • This scene from amateur video shows Syrian rebels boarding a bus leaving Homs, May 7, 2014.
  • Hundreds of Syrian rebels leave Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces, May 8, 2014.
     
  • The exit of about 1,200 fighters and civilians marks a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city of Homs, one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, earning the nickname "capital of the revolution," Homs, May 7, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters on a bus leaving Homs, Syria, May 7, 2014.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
May 10, 2014 11:49 AM
The Syrian war would never had happened if the US and EU countries hadn't interfered in Syrian politics, and supplied the anti-Assad fighters with weapons to kill everybody...
The Syrian war would end as soon as the US and EU stopped supplying weapons to the anti-Assad fighters, who are mostly terrorists.. -- (BUT like always) -- the US and EU and NATO (bring violence, death, destruction and war), to all the non-European country politics the US and EU interferes in, - like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, South Sudan, and now Ukraine? -- The US and EU bring violence, death, destruction and war, and never bring peace, do they?

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 13, 2014 9:01 PM
Assad is just doing exactly as his daddy taught him as he did himself. A regime led by brutality, corruption, and torture. Don't like his rule? You will be beaten/abused, lucky if you are not killed in Syria. Brutality is their way of dealing with opposition, putting fear in to the people til they break. Assad has killed tens of thousands of unarmed innocent civilians, there is no way he is going to walk free in the end. He will either commit suicide or be arrested (likely suicide)... Syrians are sick of him and his dads rule, many Syrians fighting how had their relatives killed by assads dad. Brutal crackdowns do not earn you points this day and age... God bless the Syrian people, together they can bring justice to assad for his crimes.

In Response

by: Allan from: canada
May 10, 2014 8:21 PM
I think your understanding of this civil war just shows how much you don t know about the middle east. Assad is nothing but a bully who likes to blame everyone else for his problems and just wants everyone to think he is such a bad a**. Assad is the only person in Syria who should be shot in the head.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid