Syria crisis: UN launches record $6.5bn aid appeal

The United Nations has announced its biggest ever appeal, seeking $6.5bn for humanitarian aid to Syria, the BBC reports.
The UN estimates nearly three-quarters of Syria’s 22.4 million population will need humanitarian aid in 2014.
The appeal coincides with a new study by the International Rescue Committee, which warns that starvation is now threatening the Syrian population.
Bread prices have risen by 500% in some areas, according to the report.
Four out of five Syrians said their greatest worry was that food would run out, the survey found. UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres made the appeal on Monday in the Swiss city of Geneva.
In total, the UN is asking for almost $13bn to fund its humanitarian operations next year.
Some $2.3bn is destined for civilians inside Syria, while $4.2bn would go to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.
The latest call exceeds the UN’s record appeal for $4.4bn in June, of which only 60% has been funded so far.
“We’re facing a terrifying situation here where, by the end of 2014, substantially more of the population of Syria could be displaced or in need of humanitarian help than not,” Mr Guterres said.
“This goes beyond anything we have seen in many, many years, and makes the need for a political solution all the much greater.”
Ahead of the launch, Lady Amos described the Syrian situation as “one of the biggest crises in modern times”.
She said Syrian refugees “think the world has forgotten about them”.
The UN estimates that some 6.3 million people have been internally displaced since the conflict broke out in March 2011.
More than two million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon and Turkey. Nearly half of those who have remained in Syria now rely on aid, according to the UN.
Circumstances have worsened further with the onset of harsh winter weather.
International aid agencies say they have been struggling to provide medical aid to the sick and wounded because of fierce fighting between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels.
83 dead in aerial bombardments on Aleppo, Syria, opposition group says
At least 83 people died in aerial bombardments conducted by government forces in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, said the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, CNN informs.
At least 27 children and eight women were among the dead, the group said; it reported that 50 more people had sustained injuries in the bombardments.
Helicopters dropped barrel bombs on 12 neighborhoods in the city, where people have strongly backed rebels opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The opposition organization says it is not the first time the Syrian regime has dropped barrels filled with explosives on Aleppo neighborhoods.

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