Syrian airstrikes pummel rebel areas

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 00:46

Beirut: Syrian government aircraft pounded opposition areas in the northern city of Aleppo and near the southern border with Jordan on Monday, a day after airstrikes killed at least 76 people, while the United Nations issued a record appeal for USD 6.5 billion to help the millions of Syrians uprooted by their homeland`s civil war.

President Bashar Assad`s air force is his greatest advantage in the country`s civil war, and he has successfully exploited it to stem and even roll back rebel advances across the country. Human rights groups say Syrian military aircraft have carried out indiscriminate air raids that frequently hit civilian targets, such as hospitals, bakeries and residential areas.

The government has relied on its air power in particular in northern Syria, much of which fell to opposition fighters over the course of the past year. One of the major battlegrounds on that front is Aleppo, where Assad`s forces and rebels have been bogged down in a bloody fight since rebels launched an assault on the city in mid-2012.

With no end in sight to the fighting, the humanitarian situation is worsening among 8.8 Syrians who have been uprooted from their homes. Of those, 6.5 million are internally displaced and the other 2.3 million have sought refuge abroad.

In Geneva, the UN appealed to donors today for USD 6.5 billion in funds to help support the nearly 9 million Syrians uprooted by the conflict, the largest ever appeal for a single crisis.

The appeal is based on projections of continuing humanitarian needs because of the massive displacement of Syrians both inside and outside the country into 2014. Some USD 2.3 billion will assist people inside Syria and the remaining USD 4.2 billion is expected to help refugees and host communities in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, the UN said.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 00:46

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