Uptade Blinken greets protesters in Israel demanding return of Gaza hostages

JEDDAH: The UN appealed on Friday for more than $4 billion in humanitarian assistance to combat food insecurity in Syria.

UN humanitarian coordinator Adam Abdelmoula warned that funding was almost non-existent and lack of support would push more Syrians to emigrate.

“At least 12.9 million people are food insecure across the country,” he said. Inaction would mean at least 2.5 million children would lose the chance to return to school, and about 2.3 million women of reproductive age may “lose access to vital reproductive and maternal health care.”

He said: “In 2024, we are appealing for $4.07 billion to provide lifesaving aid to 10.8 million Syrians, out of 16.7 million people assessed to be in need of assistance.”

Abdelmoula also noted Syria’s vulnerability to climate shocks, exacerbated by conflict, and warned of water scarcity and heatwaves affecting agriculture and livestock.

The Gaza war had led to an increase in commodity prices in Syria due to global shipping disruptions and “a significant increase in Israeli air attacks against targets in the country, he said.

Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since civil war broke out in 2011, targeting Iran-backed forces such as Hezbollah and Syrian army positions, but attacks have increased since the war began on Oct. 7.

Abdelmoula warned of the potential for several catastrophic consequences of ignoring the Syria crisis, including the potential resurgence of terrorism and the further destabilization of neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan “by not creating conducive conditions for the return of refugees.”

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