Donors meet target of $1.5 billion aid for stricken Syrians: U.N.
By Sylvia Westall
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Donor countries have pledged more than $1.5 billion to aid Syrians stricken by civil war, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday after warning that the conflict had wrought a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.
In a pointed message for Syria's leader, Ban told a fund-raising conference that President Bashar al-Assad bore primary responsibility to stop his country's suffering after nearly two years of conflict that have cost an estimated 60,000 lives.
"Every day Syrians face unrelenting horrors," Ban told the gathering in Kuwait, adding these included sexual violence and arbitrary killings. Sixty-five people were shot dead execution-style in Aleppo on Tuesday, opposition activists said.
"We cannot go on like this.... He should listen to the voices and cries of so many people," Ban said.
"I appeal to all sides and particularly the Syrian government to stop the killing ... in the name of humanity, stop the killing, stop the violence."
Ban said the one-day conference had exceeded the target of $1.5 billion in pledges. About $1 billion is earmarked for Syria's neighbors hosting refugees and $500 million for humanitarian aid to Syrians displaced inside the country.
The $500 million would be channeled through U.N. partner agencies in Syria. and the entire aid pledge would cover the next six months, Ban said.
But in the Syrian capital Damascus, the thud of artillery drowned out any optimism on the streets. Asked about the aid promises, Damascenes were uninterested or despairing. Continued...