US President Barack Obama has approved an extra $US12 million in US lifesaving humanitarian aid to Syrians to mitigate what he said were President Bashar al-Assad’s ‘horrific atrocities’. The grant brings to $US76 million the total amount of food, water, medical supplies, clothing, hygiene kits and other aid to some of the 1.5 million people in need in Syria, the White House said. “After nearly 17 months of conflict, the humanitarian situation is dire and rapidly deteriorating,” the statement said. “The United States urges all countries around the world to contribute to the United Nations Syria humanitarian appeal. “We also call on all parties to ensure the safety of civilians and aid workers, and the safe and unimpeded delivery of relief supplies to those in need.” The statement also repeated US calls for Assad to cede power to allow a peaceful political transition in Syria and renewed a US pledge to work with the opposition and its partners to support such a way out of the Syrian bloodbath.