April 28, 2014 |
There's growing evidence that the Syrian regime has been gassing civilians again, sending helicopters to unload barrel bombs filled with canisters of chlorine on women and children. Chlorine gas, used to brutal effect in World War I, turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs, which can lead to internal burning and drowning. But the gas was not on the list of chemical weapons banned by a U.S.-Russian accord in 2013. Clearly, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad feels free to thumb his nose at the White House, despite the epic humanitarian crisis he's caused for Syria and its neighbors.
April 18, 2014
A CHILD starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world. That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
March 17, 2014 |
The Russian invasion of Ukraine should finally end the administration's fantasy that Moscow will help stop the war in Syria. And it ought to force the White House to forge a new strategy to deal with the most shocking humanitarian crisis of the century, which is spilling over from Syria to all of its neighbors. Otherwise, the level of human suffering will get much, much worse. U.S. officials have insisted for three years that there was no military solution in Syria; they clung to delusions that Russia would convince Bashar al-Assad to make way for a transitional government and free elections.
November 29, 2013 |
Americans are a generous people. During the holiday season, we are busy buying gifts and donating to the needy. We were quick to write a check or text funds when a typhoon struck the Philippines. But this Thanksgiving, I can't help wondering why the biggest humanitarian crisis in a decade is getting so little attention. I'm referring to Syria, where nearly one third of the population, almost 7 million people, has either fled the country or is displaced and struggling to survive inside Syria.
February 20, 2013 |
The distance between Peach Bottom, Pa., and Wajir, Kenya, is 7,800 miles. That also happens to be the distance of Karl Frey's life trajectory, which has arced from growing up Mennonite on his family's Lancaster County dairy farm to helping improve children's health in a drought-stricken area of eastern Africa. Don't even bother asking Frey if he's got milk - the answer will be yes. "I did drink a lot of milk when I was growing up," said Frey, 50. "It is the best thing out there in terms of nutrients, right?"
January 31, 2013 |
BEIRUT - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a donor conference for humanitarian aid for Syria on Wednesday by calling on all parties, especially the government of President Bashar al-Assad, to end the violence in the nearly two-year-old conflict that, by United Nations estimates, has left at least 60,000 dead. "The situation in Syria is catastrophic and getting worse by the day," the U.N. chief said at the conference, which is being held in Kuwait and has drawn representatives from more than 60 countries as well as several nongovernmental organizations.
December 10, 2012 |
Now that the U.S. elections are over, the Obama administration is applying a full-court press for a political solution in Syria. Finally. But U.S. officials still refuse to openly engage with, or give military aid to, Syrian rebel commanders, who will exercise major influence after the fall of Bashar al-Assad. Instead, the Obama team has been outsourcing the role of aiding military rebels to Saudi Arabia and the tiny Gulf emirate of Qatar, with the Saudis now taking the lead. At a meeting last week in Antalya, Turkey, more than 300 commanders from the rebel Free Syrian Army agreed under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Qatar to form a unified command structure, in return for promises they would get more advanced weapons.
November 11, 2012
An 80-member team led by Philadelphia firefighters on Friday ended an 11-day deployment to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York City area, officials said. The Philadelphia Fire Department and 26 other agencies in Pennsylvania and Maryland provided search and rescue and humanitarian aid in New York City and Nassau County, officials said. The Fire Department was the lead agency of the Pennsylvania Task Force One FEMA Urban Search and Rescue, which was fully activated the day Sandy made landfall.
September 6, 2012 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Turkey accused Syria of "state terrorism" Wednesday after a sharp spike in the death toll from the Syrian civil war, and Iran came under new scrutiny with the United States alleging that Tehran is flying weapons to President Bashar al-Assad's regime across Iraqi airspace. With violence escalating in the nearly 18-month-old crisis, strains rippled across the region as Egypt's president urged Assad to take a lesson from the Arab Spring uprisings that deposed other leaders and step down.