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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid