UN Seek $1.5 Billion In Humanitarian Aid For Syria As Conflict Reaches “Unprecedented Levels Of Horror”

By: EW News Desk Team   Date: 30 January 2013

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30 January 2013

A U.N.-sponsored summit in Kuwait on Wednesday will call for a drastic increase in international relief funds for nearly 5 million Syrians, reported the Associated Press, following fresh reports of atrocities inflicted on the civilian population, including 78 bodies found floating along a river in the city of Aleppo on Tuesday.

The meeting, which will see representatives from over 60 countries, is also expected to call for a reorientation on political calculations among Western nations and allies supporting the Syrian rebels, with the civil war seeing no end in sight despite nearing its two-year-mark.

On Tuesday, U.N. special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, addressed the Security Council, offering the bleakest picture yet of the situation on the ground.

"The country is breaking up before everyone's eyes," Brahimi was quoted as saying by diplomats inside the closed-door meeting. "Only the international community can help and first (and) foremost the Security Council."

"I told the council that I'm embarrassed to be repeating the same thing," Brahimi told reporters after the meeting, as cited by Reuters. "Syria is being destroyed, bit by bit."

Crucially, the Security Council, since the outbreak of the conflict, has been divided between two camps; while the United States, Britain, France and other Western powers are backing the armed opposition and pushing for resolutions that raised the threat of sanctions, Russia and China have already vetoed at least three resolutions – insisting on a solution that would involve the current regime.

Related: China Hesitant to Intervene in Syria: Kofi Annan

Related: Russia Printing & Supplying Currency To Assad’s Regime: Report

Brahimi blamed both Bashar Assad’s government and the Western-backed opposition forces for the escalating violence, warning the international community that "unprecedented levels of horror have been reached.”

"I am now calling on the Security Council to take action," Brahimi said, refuting rumours that he would resign from his role, just as his predecessor, former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, did last year when he ran into a similar impasse.

“I am not a quitter…The United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged with this problem, whether I am there or not. [But] the moment I feel I am totally useless, I will not stay one minute more,” he said.

Additionally, Brahimi told the council that he was increasingly worried about countries surrounding Syria, which face a growing risk of "contamination" from the conflict.

"Most regional parties have aligned with one of the parties in Syria," Brahimi said. "There might be implications if the crisis continues spiraling. The refugee flow is becoming a matter of controversy in these countries."

"Syria is becoming a playground for competing forces," he added. "None of the neighbours is immune to the fallout consequences of the conflict. The region is facing the risk of contamination.”

Related: Qatar PM Renews Call For Arab Military Intervention In Syria

Related: Syria To Seek $60 Billion In Financial Aid For First Six Months Post-Assad

On the eve of the Kuwait meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged an $155 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian population – bringing the nation’s total contribution to $365 million over the last two years. Other pledges include $100 million promised by Saudi Arabia in December for Syrian relief and $5 million from the United Arab Emirates this month for the refugees in Jordan.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N. office in charge of coordinating humanitarian affairs, said however that the international organisation had on hand less than 4 percent of the $519 million pledged towards Syria.

Nearly $1 billion more in emergency money will be needed, said Laerke, calling the present crisis “relentless.”

“This is the just the six-month price tag…. This just gets us through the middle of year,” he further warned.

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