World Bulletin/News Desk
A US official has called on international community to support Turkey in extending humanitarian aid to civil war-stricken Syrian refugees.
"Turkey has made a great work. But it should not be alone in this. US has been making major efforts to the international efforts," Anne C. Richard, the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, told Friday a press conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
"I think the United States would welcome a large pledge from Russia to help with the Syrian refugee crisis because all countries need to work together to address this serious humanitarian crisis," Ford said.
Richard was part of a US delegation visiting Turkey, that also included Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance with US Agency for International Development and Robert Ford, US ambassador to Syria.
The United Nations will convene a pledging conference in Kuwait on Wednesday to try to secure more than $1.5 billion for millions of people inside Syria who are facing what it has called a "rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation".
"Combined, all of the assistance to date is not enough which is why we are going to Kuwait to significantly increase our assistance and to call upon all nations to step forward at this time of need and crisis for the Syrian people," said USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg.
The flour is to go to bakeries in Syria's northern Aleppo province and help provide daily bread for around 210,000 people for the next five months.
The United Nations says 2.5 million people are going hungry inside Syria, where its World Food Programme (WFP) has only been able to feed up to 1.5 million Syrians each month because of the fighting and a lack of local partners capable of delivering aid.
The U.S. States Department said many bakeries in Syria have had to close down because the Syrian government has cut off fuel and flour supplies.
Richard also said the US officials have been talking to their counterparts about the possibility of an increasing flow of refugees, adding, "I pray it doesn't happen. We would be foolish not to make such preparations."
Also speaking at the press meeting, Lindborg said their visit in Turkey aimed to give a strong message to the Syrian people that US was in solidarity with them.
She said the Damascus regime cut off access to basic needs such as fuel and flour, adding that US had launched a new program to supply bread to 210 thousand people daily in Aleppo as part of a $220 million US aid.
Responding to a question whether the US was talking to Russia, Ambassador Ford said the US officials regularly held contacts with Russia, however, added, "it is not a secret that our positions are not identical."
"US is sending a delegation to Kuwait and we hope other countries send as well. US would welcome a large pledge from Russia," Ford said, referring to an international meeting in Kuwait to boost humanitarian aid for Syrian people.
Across the region, 678,540 Syrian refugees had registered or were being processed as of Tuesday, according to UNHCR figures for Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and North Africa. Some 2 million Syrians are estimated to be displaced inside Syria.Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2013, 11:31