U.S. Delivers $155 Million More to Relieve Syria’s Suffering

1 February 2013

The United States is releasing an additional $155 million to buy food, blankets, medical supplies and other types of humanitarian assistance to help Syrians suffering under the Assad regime.

Speaking via video directly to the Syrian people January 29, President Obama said, "This new aid will mean more warm clothing for children and medicine for the elderly, flour and wheat for your families, and blankets, boots and stoves for those huddled in damaged buildings. It will mean health care for victims of sexual violence and field hospitals for the wounded."

The latest infusion of U.S. aid brings the U.S. total to $365 million, more than any other single donor of assistance to the Syrian people. More than half the funding, $202 million, is helping people inside Syria. The rest is going to Jordan ($52 million), Lebanon ($51 million), Turkey ($34 million), Iraq ($19 million), Egypt ($2 million) and regional U.N. agencies ($5 million).

The U.S. assistance is buying food for people in all of Syria's 14 governorates, providing medicine and medical treatment in Damascus, Dar'a and Homs, immunizing 1 million Syrian children against preventable diseases such as measles, and delivering winter supplies to Syrians in areas including Aleppo, Dayr az Zawr and Homs.

The extent of the suffering inflicted by the Assad regime during the past two years is staggering. The United Nations says about 2.5 million people have been displaced inside Syria and more than 678,000 have fled to neighboring countries. More than 400,000 Palestinian refugees inside Syria have been affected by the violence. The U.S. assistance is enabling them to receive food, cash and winter supplies, according to a State Department fact sheet.

Obama said Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt have taken on a significant burden by opening their doors to refugees from the Syrian turmoil, and added, "They are not alone."

Jordan is receiving funds to address psychological trauma, including gender-based violence, in addition to providing food, water and winter supplies.

In Lebanon, U.S. funding supports the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency's work of delivering basic humanitarian services such as clean water, blankets and tents.

For Turkey, much of the U.S. assistance goes to the Turkish Red Crescent, which is active in helping Syrian refugees survive the winter.

The U.S. assistance earmarked for Iraq supports the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration and the World Food Programme.

The money supplied to Egypt goes mainly to buy food for Syrian refugees and to fund UNHCR operations in the country.

Obama is sending U.S. envoys to the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, taking place in Kuwait January 30, to urge a stronger international response to the deteriorating Syrian situation. He said the United States believes that funneling support through the United Nations and its partner organizations is the most effective way to help the millions of people affected by the Assad regime's brutality.

"We're under no illusions. The days ahead will continue to be very difficult," Obama said. But he added that the Assad regime will come to an end, and when that happens, the United States will be the partner of the Syrian people as they forge their own future.

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