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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid