U.K. to Send Food for 20,000, Medical Equipment to Syria

Britain is sending humanitarian aid to Syria including food rations for 20,000 people and medical supplies as President Bashar Al-Assad intensifies his 11-month crackdown on opponents.

“What is happening in Syria is appalling, we have a government that’s butchering and murdering its own people,” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters after meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris today.

Britain will provide 2 million pounds ($3.17 million) of aid through three humanitarian organizations working in Syria, the Department for International Development said in an e-mailed statement. It said it is not naming the groups as it does not want to make their job harder.

The money will provide “basic food rations” for 20,000 people, household items, including cooking utensils and blankets, for 5,500 and ensure safe drinking water for 30,000, DFID said.

“The emerging picture from Syria is increasingly horrifying, and as the shelling of Homs enters its third week our concern for the humanitarian situation continues to grow,” said International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell. The aid announced today “will provide immediate and potentially life-saving short-term help for thousands of innocent civilians under attack -- but a longer-term solution is urgently needed,” he said.

Syrian security forces today pounded the Homs region after the United Nations General Assembly denounced the Assad regime’s crackdown on protesters.

Cameron and Sarkozy condemned the Syrian government, but ruled out military action, saying Syria is different from Libya, where Western powers intervened with the full backing of the UN and the Arab League. They said the Syrian opposition needs to be more united.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fergal O’Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net

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