Syrian refugees walk at a refugee camp in Zahle, in the Bekaa Valley March 14, 2014. (REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)
Syria, a blockbuster
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Humanitarian aid groups are grappling with a paradox in dealing with the mass suffering caused by Syria's civil war: The more horrific it gets, the more difficult it becomes to raise private donations to alleviate the plight of the victims.To hear humanitarian aid experts tell it, the war in Syria – now in its fourth year – has turned so atrocious and complicated, the flood of refugees so enormous, that it is difficult to convince people their contribution can make a difference.Americans find it hard to identify with what is happening in Syria and they tend to respond more readily to natural than man-made disasters. When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last November, killing more than 6,000 and making almost 2 million homeless, World Vision raised $16 million in private donations for the victims, within weeks.U.N. officials urged the world not to forget Syria.British celebrities have been more vocal: In mid-March, 30 figures from the world of acting and literature, including actor Hugh Grant and singer Sting, called on the U.N. to take action to ensure that aid supplies get through to civilians besieged in parts of Syria by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
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