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New York Times Reports On Controversy Surrounding Syrian Aid; WFP To Feed 2.5M People In Syria By April

The New York Times examines the controversy surrounding humanitarian aid to Syria, writing, “The United States and other international donors are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on humanitarian aid for Syrians afflicted by the civil war. But here in the rebel-controlled north, where the deprivation is most acute, that money has bought mostly anger and resentment: the vast majority of aid is going to territory controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, and the small amount reaching opposition-held areas is all but invisible.” The U.N. requires its agencies to follow Assad’s rules, “which limit access to opposition territory — as long as the international assembly recognizes his government,” the newspaper states, adding, “That means that while internally displaced Syrians living in government-controlled areas are cared for in United Nations-run camps, with standard shelter and basic utilities, the many who have fled into opposition territory are plagued by shortages of food, fuel, blankets and medicine.” The New York Times notes that “[t]he United Nations agencies are the main conduit for international aid, including most of the total of $385 million that Washington has directed to the cause in 2012 and 2013” (Kirkpatrick, 3/8).

In related news, the World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday “said it aims to feed 2.5 million people inside Syria by next month, up from 1.7 million in February, as the number of civilians displaced by the ongoing conflict continues to rise sharply,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Given the additional number of beneficiaries, WFP is expanding its operations at an additional cost of $526 million through December 2013. So far, $173 million, or 33 percent, has been received,” the news service writes. “Also speaking at the briefing, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the $521 million Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan was 21.5 percent funded, which includes $200 million pledged at the January donor conference in Kuwait,” the news service adds, noting, “The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said its appeal for Syria was 22 percent funded, having received $15 million of the $68.4 million requested” (3/8).