EU aid officials sound alarm on Syrian humanitarian crisis
The humanitarian situation in Syria is rapidly deteriorating, the European Union's top aid official warned on Wednesday, saying the number of refugees is growing by about 2,000 people a day, DPA reported.
In recent weeks, the number of refugees has been growing rapidly, according to the EU's top humanitarian aid commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva.
Georgieva, the EU's humanitarian aid commissioner, told reporters in Brussels that it must be clear to "the government of Syria and the opposition fighters that killing civilians and killing humanitarian workers - being obstacles to delivering aid - is a war crime that is not going to be left unnoticed."
Georgieva also urged the international community "to come together and unite on the need to protect the principles of international humanitarian law."
Since late July, the EU has provided more than 75 million euros (92 million dollars) of aid. The United States has contributed more than 82 million dollars of aid since the conflict began.
Officials on both sides of the Atlantic estimate that 2.5 million people are currently in need of help, including 1.2 million people who have been displaced.
"It's right up there with the worst crises in the world today," Mark Bartolini, director of the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, said on Tuesday.
Most of the aid has been distributed through UN and other aid organizations. Aid is also being delivered to refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Georgieva noted that for many in Syria, "there's no other hope for safety than to leave the country."
"This is what puts the conflict on a different level, because it becomes equally dangerous for the neighbours," she said. "The spillover for Lebanon, for Jordan, even for Turkey - the country that is best prepared - is becoming clearly very serious."
Observers have floated the idea of establishing a humanitarian corridor in Syria, but the EU continues to rule the option out.
"Where do you put the corridor?" Georgieva asked. "How do you protect it? How do you make sure that the corridor is used only for humanitarian purposes and not for the delivery of arms?"
"In the context of the Syrian conflict, (it) is not an option now," she said.