The World Food Program, the food agency of the United Nations, said that it was providing food to one and a half million people inside Syria this month but that as many as two and a half million needed help, mostly in areas made hazardous by fighting between insurgents and loyalist forces of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Our partners are overstretched, and there is no capacity to expand operations further,” said a World Food Program spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs, at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “We need more implementing partners.”
She also said acute fuel shortages in Syria had delayed food deliveries and contributed to severe inflation in the price of bread because bakeries needed fuel for their ovens. In the contested city of Aleppo, for example, the price of a kilogram of bread is 250 Syrian pounds, or about $3.50, at least 50 percent higher than in other parts of Syria and at least six times more than its cost when the Syrian conflict began nearly two years ago.
The United Nations appealed last month for $1.5 billion in additional aid to handle the growing humanitarian crisis created by the Syrian conflict, which has left at least 60,000 people dead and is threatening to destabilize the Middle East. More than half a million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, and the United Nations refugee agency has forecast a doubling of that number by the middle of 2013.
The most heavily burdened neighbors — Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon — have been persistently calling for more international aid, particularly during the cold winter months.
At the Zaatari refugee camp, which shelters 54,000 Syrians in northern Jordan, fighting erupted Tuesday during food distribution after a night of relentless rain inundated parts of the encampment. The number of injuries was unclear.