WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has approved another $12 million in emergency relief aid to Syrians, the White House said on Thursday, calling on other countries to boost their donations as a result of worsening conditions there.
"After nearly 17 months of conflict, the humanitarian situation is dire and rapidly deteriorating," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
The statement did not mention the announcement that U.N. special envoy for Syria Kofi Annan has decided to step down from his post after his peace plan meant to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from attacking civilians was widely seen to have failed.
The United Nations estimates that more than 1.5 million people in Syria now need food, water and other assistance. Some 1 million have been driven from their homes and more than 130,000 people have fled to neighboring countries like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States' new aid commitment brings the total it has provided for emergency supplies including medical gear, clothing and hygiene kits to $76 million.
Carney appealed to other countries to also step up their donations and called on all parties to the Syrian conflict "to ensure the safety of civilians and aid workers, and the safe and unimpeded delivery of relief supplies to those in need."
The White House also repeated its view that Assad needs to leave power to bring bloodshed in Syria to an end.
"We call on all members of the international community to support a political transition in Syria, and we will continue to work with the opposition and our allies and partners to support an inclusive transition that guarantees the Syrian people their universal rights," Carney said said.