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A general view shows the damage in the main street of al-Sabaa Bahrat in old Aleppo on Tuesday. Zain Karam / Reuters
Neighboring nations reaching limits to help refugees fleeing civil war
Denouncing "unrelenting horrors" in Syria's war, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed on Wednesday for an end to the violence and urged more aid to address a situation he said was catastrophic and getting worse every day.
"How many more people will be killed if the current situation continues?" Ban said, speaking at a conference of donors in Kuwait who were asked to drum up more pledges to finance UN humanitarian efforts.
"I appeal to all sides, and particularly the Syrian government, to stop the killing. ... In the name of humanity, stop the killing, stop the violence," he said.
More than 60,000 people have been killed since the 22-month-old conflict began, the United Nations says.
The world body warned on Monday that without more money, it will not be able to help millions of Syrians, and appealed for donations at the aid conference to meet its $1.5 billion target.
About 4 million Syrians inside the country need food, shelter and other aid, and more than 700,000 more have escaped to neighboring countries since the conflict began, according to the UN.
'Destroyed bit by bit'
On Tuesday, the international envoy to Syria told the UN Security Council that "Syria is being destroyed bit by bit," and his mediation efforts cannot move forward unless the council unites to push the Syrian government and opposition forces toward a compromise.
"I'm embarrassed to be repeating the same thing: Syria is being destroyed," Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, said after closed-door consultations with the Security Council.
Brahimi blamed both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Western-backed opposition forces.
"Objectively, they are cooperating to destroy Syria. Syria is being destroyed bit by bit. And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad, and extremely important for the entire world," Brahimi said.
Brahimi added that the deteriorating situation is why the Security Council has a duty to overcome its differences over Syria.
Jordan's King Abdullah told the gathering in Kuwait that hundreds of thousands of Syrians have taken refuge in his country, but Jordan's ability to help was at its limit.
"We have reached the end of the line, we have exhausted our resources," he said.
Also at the conference, Saudi Arabia pledged to provide $300 million to help fund humanitarian efforts for conflict-plagued Syrians, al-Jazeera Mubasher television reported.
The channel said the announcement was made by the kingdom's finance minister, Ibrahim Alassaf, at the aid donor conference.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said farming was in crisis, hospitals and ambulances had been damaged, and even painkillers were unavailable.
Harsh winter weather had made matters worse, and people were without winter clothes, blankets and fuel. Women and children were particularly at risk, she said, adding: "We are watching a human tragedy unfold before our eyes."
(China Daily 01/31/2013 page11)