UPDATE 2-Kuwait to host Syria donor meeting in late January

Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:01pm EST

MANAMA Dec 24 (Reuters) - Kuwait said on Monday it would host an international humanitarian donor conference for Syria in late January, amid mounting concern for millions of Syrians beset by war and winter cold.

Speaking at a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a grouping of six oil-exporting Gulf Arab countries, Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al Sabah said Kuwait was acting in response to an invitation by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"The Syrian wound is still bleeding, and the killing machine still continues, killing dozens of our brothers in Syria each day," he told the GCC annual meeting in Bahrain.

"In response to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, there will be an international conference for donors for the Syrian people. Kuwait has agreed to host the conference, which will take place at the end of January."

Ban said last week he was considering holding an international donor conference for Syria early in 2013.

Sheikh Sabah said an end to the Syrian crisis looked far off, and the situation "requires the international community to take swift and effective measures for humanitarian support".

The United Nations appealed on Dec. 19 for $1.5 billion to help save the lives of millions of Syrians suffering what it termed a dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation.

It is seeking $519.6 million to help 4 million people within Syria and $1 billion to meet the needs of up to 1 million Syrian refugees in five other countries until July 2013.

The United Nations said the twin appeals comprised the "largest short-term humanitarian appeal ever", but still fell some way short of a comprehensive relief plan.

An anti-government uprising in Syria has grown into civil war, with death tolls regularly topping 100 people a day as the army hits back at rebels who have made a string of advances across the country, including around the capital.