Aid Groups Appeal for Syria's Displaced Citizens

International aid agencies issued an appeal for Syria's displaced citizens, saying more than 1.5 million have been driven from their homes.

Chana Ya'ar ,

Free Syrian Army fighter helps old woman cros
Free Syrian Army fighter helps old woman cros

International agencies have issued a worldwide appeal for Syria's displaced citizens, citing figures of more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees from the civil war.

"More than one and a half million people in Syria have been internally displaced by the ongoing conflict there and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance,” warned a group of international humanitarian organizations in a letter to the United Nations and the League of Arab Nations.

Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and five global leaders known as The Elders called on Syrian authorities to allow humanitarian organizations into the country as outlined in the plan advanced by former U.N. And Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Although he agreed to the proposal, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad subsequently completely ignored it.

According to Save the Children, only 20 percent of a $189 million United Nations appeal for assistance to the displaced Syrians had been funded.

"There is a danger that those displaced within Syria are being forgotten or overlooked,” said Mike Penrose, humanitarian director at Save the Children.

"The violence and extreme restrictions on humanitarian access mean hundreds of thousands of people are at risk, especially pregnant women, children and the elderly... We urgently need to get into Syria to be able to help them.”

The United Nations and various activist organizations have estimated that between 18,000 to 21,000 people have died in the escalating civil war that began with youthful protests in the city of Dera'a in March 2011, ignited by the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings. The protests were brutally supressed by government troops sent by President Bashar al-Assad.