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UN LAUNCHES RECORD APPEAL FOR VICTIMS OF SYRIA WAR

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BEIRUT, Lebanon – The United Nations warned yesterday half of all Syrians would need humanitarian aid by the end of 2013, and launched what it said was the biggest emergency appeal in history to cope with the civil war crisis.
“Syria as a civilisation is unravelling,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, announcing the call for some US$5 billion (RM15.4 billion) before the end of the year.
The joint statement by UN agencies coincided with heavy fighting on numerous fronts, as rebels attacked an air base in northern Syria while forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad sought to capitalise on their own recent gains.
Clashes continued on the Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, a day after rebels briefly seized the sole crossing between the two foes.
  • Austria, a major contributor to a UN monitoring mission in the Golan, announced on Thursday it was withdrawing from the area because of the violence, jeopardising an operation that has helped keep the Israeli-Syrian war quiet for four decades.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has backed the Syrian government since the start of the unrest in March 2011, said Moscow was ready to replace the Austrian peacekeepers.
  • A UN spokesman said however the four-decade-old agreement on the mission in the Golan did not allow permanent US Security Council members such as Russia to send troops.
  • Highlighting the scale of the crisis, UN humanitarian agencies in Geneva said 10.25 million Syrians would need aid by the end of the year at a cost of US$5 billion.
  • “The funds we are appealing for are a matter of survival for suffering Syrians and they are existential for the neighbouring countries hosting refugees,” Guterres said.
  • The appeal comprises US$2.9 billion for refugees, US$1.4 billion for humanitarian aid and US$830 million for Lebanon and Jordan, the biggest recipients of Syria.

Source: The Malaysian Insider...More...
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