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Tue 24 Mar 2015 12:23 PM

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Syrian people feel abandoned as world focuses on ISIL: UN

Violence and gov't red tape hinder attempts to deliver aid to 12m people, says UN chief Ban Ki-moon

Syrian people feel abandoned as world focuses on ISIL: UN
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Getty Images)

The people of
Syria feel "increasingly abandoned by the world" as global attention
focuses on ISIL militants, while violence and government bureaucracy hinder
attempts to deliver aid to 12 million people, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on
Monday.

In his 13th
monthly report to the United Nations Security Council on Syria, Ban said a lack
of accountability during the four-year civil war has also led to a rise in
allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other human rights
abuses.

"While
global attention is focused on the threat to regional and international peace
and security which terrorist groups such as ISIL and (Al Qaeda's) Nusra Front
pose, our focus must continue to be on how best to help and support the Syrian
people," Ban said in the report, seen by Reuters.

Ban said more
than 220,000 people have been killed since security forces cracked down on a
pro-democracy movement in 2011, sparking an armed uprising. Some four million
Syrians have fled the country and 7.6 million are internally displaced.

Extremist
Islamist groups have exploited the chaos and complicated diplomatic efforts to
end the conflict with ISIL, declaring a caliphate in the swaths of territory it
has seized in Syria and Iraq.

A US-led
alliance has been targeting ISIL with air strikes in Iraq and Syria for some
six months.

Ban said
delivery of aid was becoming more challenging due to "violence and
insecurity, shifting conflict lines, deliberate interference by parties to the
conflict ... and administrative procedures which constrain effective aid
delivery."

While aid is
reaching several million people, Ban said the situation for some 4.8 million
people in hard-to-reach areas, especially 212,000 people in besieged areas, was
of "grave concern," hospitals and schools are being attacked, and
international aid funding has failed to keep pace with needs.

The United
Nations is seeking some $8.4 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of the
Syrian conflict in 2015, after only securing about half the funding it asked
for in 2014. Ban said a pledging conference in Kuwait on March 31 would be
crucial.

He said UN
cross-border aid deliveries of food rations from Turkey and Jordan had reached
more than four times as many people - some 771,000 - in the three months to
end-February compared with the previous three months.

However, access
to medical supplies and equipment "continued to be restricted by
insecurity and constraints imposed on humanitarian operations by parties to the
conflict."

Ban said many
delivery requests were going unanswered by the government and surgical supplies
were also being removed from convoys by security forces.

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