Ban: Syria Situation ‘Grave and Deteriorating’

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the humanitarian situation in Syria is “grave and deteriorating.”

Mr. Ban told the U.N. General Assembly in New York Tuesday that the U.N. efforts to help Syrian refugees are badly underfunded, with only half of the money needed contributed so far.

He said governments have been generous in opening their borders to refugee camps. He said those governments urgently need more support, a reference to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

Mr. Ban said both the Syrian government and the rebels have clearly failed to protect civilians as demanded by international law. He called on U.N. members to unite their efforts to work on stopping the violence and bring a political solution to Syria.

The United Nations says 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August, the highest monthly total since the conflict began last year.

U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says 235,000 Syrians live in refugee camps in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey.

But officials say the true number of refugees may be much higher because not everyone has registered with camp authorities.

Also Tuesday, Syrian television reported that President Bashar al-Assad said he supports the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria as long as it remains “impartial and independent.”

Mr. Assad met with ICRC head Peter Maurer in Damascus.