EU ready to increase funding to cope with Syrian humanitarian crisis, Georgieva says

Bulgaria’s European Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, has welcomed the UN Security Council French Presidency’s initiative to put the humanitarian situation in Syria high on the agenda of the council’s August 30 2012 meeting.

Georgieva, European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response, said that the meeting would be an opportunity to reiterate Europe’s call to all parties to the conflict to fully respect international humanitarian principles and to again insist on access for both international and local humanitarian organisations inSyria.

“The human consequences of this conflict are immense, both insideSyriaand beyond its borders, as neighbouring countries are being overwhelmed by the huge influx of desperate people,” Georgieva said.

Europe has already provided more than 146 million euro in humanitarian assistance. “In its efforts to get more access to those in need, Europe stands ready to increase this amount to match the massive evolving needs with massive funding,” she said.

The number of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria and seeking humanitarian aid in northernJordanhas more than doubled in the past week alone, the United Nations refugee agency said on August 28, warning that a much larger influx of refugees could be expected in the coming days.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the amount of registered refugees seeking shelter at the Za’atri camp, in the north of Jordan, had surged to 10 200 people for the seven day period spanning August 21 to 27, compared to just 4500 in the previous week, the UN News Centre said.

“Refugees say many thousands more are waiting to cross amid violence around Daraa and we believe this could be the start of a much larger influx,” a UNHCR spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, said in Geneva on August 28.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said on August 19 that his government was fighting a “regional and global battle” and that more time was needed to win the conflict against rebels trying to overthrow him.

His comments came as renewed fighting broke out between rebels and Syrian forces near the Taftanaz military airport, located between the northern cities of Aleppo and Idlib, the Voice of America reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA that 14 government troops were killed or injured in fierce fighting at Taftanaz, while three rebels died during the clashes. The group also says anti-government fighters damaged three to five helicopters at the airport.

Taftanaz has been targeted several times by rebels entrenched in the two cities, which have suffered daily shelling by government troops.




The Sofia Globe staff

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