The United Nations issued a warning that a “terrifying situation” could take place after airstrikes killed over 100 people in Aleppo, Syria.
The Syrian government has intensified its attempts to crush the rebels in the northern city of Aleppo, ahead of peace talks next month.
The new wave of attacks began on Sunday and continued into Monday, reminding the opposition that President Bashar al-Assad continues to hold the edge in the deadly conflict.
In a statement on Monday, the United Nations warned that the number of Syrian refugees could double to four million people by the end of 2014.
The international body is sponsoring the peace talks in Geneva. However, the latest statement indicates they are not holding out much hope of making progress anytime soon.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, appealed for $6.5 billion in new aid for the war ravaged country, which is unprecedented for any single emergency.
Guterres described “a terrifying situation” in Syria, where rebels have fought troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad for over two years.
The United Nations Commissioner said in a statement regarding the dire situation:
“By the end of 2014, substantially more of the population of Syria could be displaced or in need of humanitarian help than not. This goes beyond anything we have seen in many, many years, and makes the need for a political solution all the much greater.”
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who recently returned from a trip to Syria and Lebanon, described the terrible situation facing those caught in the middle of the violence.
“Millions of Syrians who are displaced and in urgent need of food, shelter and healthcare, both inside the country and across the region, will suffer if the international community doesn’t come to their aid.”
Other relief organizations say aid meant for devastated communities usually doesn’t reach those who need it. Much needed supplies are held at border crossings, providing a tempting target for looters.
David Miliband, President of New York-based International Rescue Committee, said in a statement:
“Starvation is now threatening large parts of the Syrian population. With polio on the loose and sub-zero weather already here, the people of Syria now face months of more death and despair. We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe that is receiving far too little attention and funding around the world.”
Inside Syria, the United Nations estimates more than 9 million people — more than a third of the population — are in need of some kind of assistance, including tens of thousands forced from their homes by the violence.