Syria pledges aid to war victims

Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said Monday the government spent $1.2 million in compensation for people affected by the national crisis.

Halqi said the investments were part of a broad-based effort to provide assistance to those affected by a war moving close to its third year. He said "all needs" for families living in more than 800 temporary residential centers were met by the government, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month at least 100,000 people in Syria have died as a result of war raging since early 2011. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said last week it estimates more than 1.9 million Syrians have fled the country and registered as refugees since the conflict began.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said more than 60 percent of those refugees fled the country this year. More than 5,000 people flooded into northern Iraq last week.

"The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us," Edwards said.

The Syrian news agency reported Monday the military "killed scores of terrorists" in an assault on Latakia, near the country's western coast. SANA added a number of foreign fighters were killed during fighting with al-Qaida rebels near Damascus.

The Syrian government said it's fighting an insurgency fueled by foreign and al-Qaida fighters. Western allies accuse Damascus of waging a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

Both sides are suspected of committing war crimes.

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