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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More