Syria’s Neighbors Seek UN Help for Refugees

Posted August 30th, 2012 at 8:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Syria's neighbors — seeking to assist more than 200,000 war refugees — have asked the United Nations Security Council for urgent help in coping with the growing humanitarian crisis.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the 15-nation Council Thursday that his government already has spent more than $300 million to build 11 refugee camps. He said his country — already home to 80,000 fleeing Syrians — can not handle more than 20,000 additional ones, and said Ankara needs help soon.

Davutoglu also cited data showing 2 million displaced people inside Syria. He urged the world body to establish internal campsites that guarantee protection for those forced to flee the carnage.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh also pleaded for help, telling the Council his country has limited means to deal with the more than 70,000 refugees inside its borders.

As fighting raged this week inside Syria, President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday dismissed the Turkish proposal for refugee zones inside his country.

Elsewhere Thursday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi told attendees at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran that the world has a moral duty to stand with the Syrian people as they seek to endure the 17-month uprising. He described the conflict as part of the revolutionary activity sweeping the region. The Syrian delegation walked out in protest during Mr. Morsi's speech.

Iran and Syria say the uprising is separate from the Arab Spring and consists largely of foreign-backed “terrorists” acting on behalf of the U.S. and regional countries..

An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says 20 people were killed, including eight children, when regime forces bombarded a town Thursday in Idlib province. Government and rebel forces fighting for control of a military airport have engaged in intense clashes in the area that was attacked.