6.8 million people inside Syria (almost 1 in 3 Syrians) are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), with over 4 million people now internally displaced.
The UN is currently providing food to 2.25 million Syrians a month.
Meanwhile, there are funding shortfalls of hundreds of millions dollars, they are still waiting for Assad’s permission to make cross-border deliveries to rebel-held areas in the North, only 10 convoys have delivered across “conflict lines” this year (5 to rebel-held areas, the other 5 to “contested” areas).
What this means is that the most populated province, Aleppo has the highest numbers in need (2.4 million) but relatively little aid delivered (749 cubic metres Jan-Mar 2013, far less than Damascus, Homs, Idlib and Daraa).
Is a building worth more than the lives of people? No. But this building was a powerful symbol of Daraa and the birthplace of the Syrian Revolution. It was also one of the oldest mosques in the world, dating back to the early 8th Century. Therefore it breaks our hearts to see the destruction of the minaret of the Omari mosque in Daraa al-Balad today after being repeatedly targeted by Assad’s forces.
This used to be a girl’s primary school in the Damascus suburb of Daraya, one of more than 2,400 destroyed schools in Syria, according to the report by UNICEF last week. 1 in 5 schools in Syria is now either destroyed or used to house displaced people.
Since December, Assad’s forces have launched dozens of Scud-type missiles (this week a source in Turkish government said at least 40). Several more missiles were seen being fired from North of Damascus today. 2 different neighbourhoods of Aleppo have been hit – Tariq al-Bab and Ard al-Hamra. Many homes have been completely destroyed and there are dozens of casualties.
The aftermath of today’s bomb on ath-Thawra street, one of the main roads in central Damascus. This is a busy highway, next to the upmarket Mazra’ah district where the Russian Embassy and Baath Party HQ are located. This area is also normally used as bus stop for those travelling between Eastern Damascus and the City Centre. Dozens of casualties are reported. The FSA has denied any involvement.
Meanwhile at least 2 bombs are reported in Barzeh, a residential area generally supportive of the revolution as well as the usual daily airstrikes, rocket, artillery, tank and mortar fire.
Jabal Bedru neighbourhood in Eastern rebel-held Aleppo this morning. The area was leveled last night in what is thought to have been a missile strike. Local activists report 21 bodies have now been recovered, among them 12 children and 2 pregnant women. Given the extent of the destruction these numbers will probably continue to rise.