In early October 2012, the U.N. reported more than 20,000 deaths, mostly civilians, due to the conflict, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 39,000 civilian deaths as of mid-November.
Intense fighting is severely impeding relief assistance, the U.N. reports. On November 4, a U.N. staff member was killed by fighting near the Yarmouk neighborhood of Damascus, bringing the total number of U.N. staff killed in Syria to eight people. In addition, numerous Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) staff and medical workers have been killed in fighting. As a result of insecurity throughout Syria, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) temporarily withdrew some staff from Al Hasakah Governorate in early November.
On November 9, U.S. Government (USG) representatives—including Kelly Clements, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) and Mark Bartolini, Director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)—attended the sixth Syria Humanitarian Forum (SHF) in Geneva, Switzerland. Attendees discussed Syria’s limited humanitarian access and highlighted concern for the safety of healthcare workers and targeting of medical facilities.
Representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, other Arab states, and the newly formed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) attended a meeting in London, England, on November 16 to discuss humanitarian and other civilian needs in Syria. The SOC identified need for winterization, food assistance, medical care, and education, and offered to work with the humanitarian community to assist conflict-affected people in areas under opposition control.
On November 14, at the annual U.S.–Australia ministers meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced $30 million in additional USG food assistance to support people affected by the Syrian conflict, bringing the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for Syrians to nearly $200 million. The new assistance comprises an additional $18 million to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) Emergency Operation (EMOP) to support affected people inside Syria and an additional $12 million to WFP’s regional EMOP to support Syrians displaced to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.