Ban to Tell UN Syria Situation Grave and Deteriorating

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 3:55 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to tell the U.N. General Assembly the humanitarian situation in Syria is grave and deteriorating.

Mr. Ban speaks to the Assembly Tuesday, where he is expected to appeal for more global funding for U.N. relief efforts in Syria and neighboring countries housing refugees.

A Ban spokesman says the U.N. chief understands this is a time of austerity in the world, but also a time of great need.

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.

Maurer is on a three-day visit to discuss ways to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians caught up in the civil war. The Red Cross said earlier Maurer would address the “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” and the difficulties which the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent face in reaching people affected by the country's violence.