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Humanitarian Situation Deteriorating In Syria As Winter Months Approach

“With more than five million people internally displaced, a suspected polio outbreak, and starvation threatening, the United Nations and aid agencies say that just a trickle of the required assistance is getting into war-ravaged Syria as the harsh winter months loom,” the Washington Post reports. “The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, on Friday chastised both sides for failing to improve access along the lines laid out in an October 2 U.N. statement and described the situation as a ‘race against time,'” the newspaper writes, adding, “The United States has accused the Syrian government of deliberately preventing the delivery of lifesaving relief, describing it as ‘unconscionable.'” According to the Washington Post, “Western diplomats say that improving humanitarian relief access, also a key demand of the Syrian opposition ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva this month, is now their key focus.”

“Although more than 100,000 people have been killed in the war, according to U.N. and activist estimates, there are no figures on how many thousands more may have died from treatable conditions due to a lack of supplies and Syria’s devastated health care system,” the Washington Post adds. Médecins Sans Frontières, “which says it has confirmed cases of malnutrition, expects cases to spread in northern Syria during the winter months as food supplies run low and inflated prices mean that many struggle to feed their families,” the newspaper writes, noting, “More than two million Syrians, 10 percent of the population, have fled the country” (Morris, 10/26).