UN says money for Syria coming in slowly

GENEVA — As Syria’s crisis moves into its third year, international relief agencies expressed alarm at the slow arrival and modest levels of financial support they are receiving to help tens of thousands of civilians who have fled the conflict and the millions trapped inside the country whose plight becomes more desperate.

Halfway into an appeal for $1.5 billion to cover the cost of aid to Syrians in the first six months of the year, United Nations officials say they have received barely one-fifth of the money.

‘‘That math just doesn’t work,’’ Radhouane Nouicer the United Nations’ regional humanitarian coordinator, said in a statement from the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Friday. ‘‘It translates into less food, fewer blankets, fewer medicines, less clean water.’’


The sluggish pace of money that has been pledged is only part of the problem. The rising violence in Syria has accelerated the flow of refugees, making the need more severe, United Nations officials said.

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Syrians on Friday marked the second anniversary of the state of the revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad. Many said they feared for the country’s future amid a grinding civil war that has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, wrecked cities and towns, and turned neighbor against neighbor.

Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for the main political opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, had a more optimistic view Friday, saying the rebels now have momentum on their side.

Saleh said the opposition coalition will meet next week in Istanbul to choose a prime minister, who would set up an interim government to run rebel-held areas, primarily in the north and east of the country, the Associated Press reported. The government will be run from Turkey and rebel-held areas, he said from Istanbul.

‘‘Probably within the next six months, we will have the government in Damascus,’’ Saleh added.