Syrians could once boast that their’s was a country where no one slept on the street.

So, the appeal by Valerie Amos for more than five billion dollars in aid for the war ravaged nation must come as a bitter irony to everyone – those who have remained loyal to Assad and those who have fought to be free.

According to the UN co-ordinator for relief, half of the population will be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance by the end of the year.

And given the UN’s track record – remember Haiti, or East Timor – that number and the amount needed is only sure to rise.

There’s even been talk that this is another Lebanon civil war, as if that horrendous conflict which spawned the infamous massacre of Palestinians in the camps of Sabra and Shatila, was a litmus test for any freedom struggle.

Lebanon became a proxy war – after Israel invaded the south and decided to stay, a decision that resulted in the creation of Hezbollah, and later Hamas who having seen how the guerilla tactics deployed by the Shia organisation had worked against the Israeli army copied everything including the use of suicide bombers.

Syria is not a proxy war – but all the tactics ‘pioneered’ in Lebanon are there for all to see, including the damage done to a once prosperous civilian population.

A number of nations are responsible for this appalling mess, namely those who have backed a rag-tag army of fiercely divided rebels.

And it is they who should now cough up – and shut up.