Syria's Aleppo region sees more violence, aid pledges

A view of destruction in Aleppo, Syria. An airstrike in the region caused a missile to nearly hit a Médecins Sans Frontières field hospital. Photo by: 1just.de / CC BY-NC-SA

A Syrian missile almost hit a Médecins Sans Frontières field hospital in the country’s north - the latest sign that violence continues unabated as funding pledges trickle in ahead of this week’s long-awaited donor conference.

The airstrike happened Jan. 24 in the Aleppo region, according to MSF.

“The growing number of attacks in this area is likely to undermine our capacity to carry out medical activities,” said Teresa Sancristóval, the NGO’s emergency desk manager.

Meanwhile, the United Nations announced a plan to set up a second major camp in Jordan by the end of the month to keep up with the growing number of displaced Syrians. As the refugee situation worsens, U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg, U.K. International Development Secretary Justine Greening and World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin visited Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

Valerie Amos, U.N.’s humanitarian chief, met with Syrian officials in Damascus for a round of negotiations ahead of Wednesday’s international pledging conference in Kuweit City.

Greening announced a £21 million ($33 million) package for Syrian refugees during her visit. Of that amount, £10 million will be channelled to humanitarian agencies assisting Syrians in Jordan while the rest will be for people in the conflict-ridden country. A $200,000 contribution from China will back refugee operations in Jordan as well, specifically those of the International Organization for Migration.

Lindborg announced part of what she called a “significant funding package” the United States was assembling ahead of Wednesday’s meeting. Some $10 million will go toward helping bakeries in the Aleppo region provide bread to around 210,000 people for the next five months.

Greening and Linborg called on other donors to take part in the Syrian crisis response through the upcoming conference in Kuwait. While the U.K. aid official commended the “small number” of donors taking action, she stressed that “the vast majority are still not doing enough.”

The upcoming donor conference for Syria aims to secure more than $1.5 billion for the millions of people suffering a “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the country. A funding appeal launched Jan. 1 by a number of U.N. agencies has so far been 3.8 percent funded, according to an update on the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response PlanOxfam, meanwhile, has issued a £12 million ($18.9 million) emergency appeal for Syrian refugees.

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    Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news for the Development Newswire. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.