UN asks for record $5.2 bn in aid to Syria | News | DW | 07.06.2013
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UN asks for record $5.2 bn in aid to Syria

The UN has appealed for $5.2 billion in aid to Syria. In its plea, the international body said the record sum was aimed at helping Syrians within the country and refugees who have fled across the borders.

In a response plan released on Friday, the United Nations outlined a proposal to distribute assistance to Syrians in dire need of aid, as the country's civil war enters its 27th month.

Citing skyrocketing figures for internally displaced persons and refugees, the report indicated that at least $5.2 billion (3.92 billion euros) would be needed to send adequate resources to both Syria and the neighboring countries providing safe havens to millions who have fled their homes.

"Our support is a moral imperative, a matter of survival for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and existential for the neighbouring countries," refugee High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said, according to the news agency DPA.

A spokesperson for the refugee agency said the UN had decided to act now rather than wait for a peace negotiation. A swift political solution to end the civil war is questionable given continued disagreements over preconditions for talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Syrian National Coalition, which represents opposition fighters.

"The figure for the new appeal is both an expression of the alarm about the situation facing Syrians and an absence of a political solution," UN refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards said, according to the news agency AFP.

Friday's report projected that the number of Syrian refugees would jump from 1.6 million to 3.45 million by the end of 2013. Nearly 10 million Syrians still in the country - or about half of the country's pre-war population - will be in need of aid, Edwards added.

Since fighting erupted in March 2011, over 94,000 people have been killed. The armed conflict has driven many Syrians into neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, gradually straining those countries' resources.

The UN's appeal came a day after the EU pledged 400 million euros in aid to Syria.

kms/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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