|Temple ruins at Palmyra.|
U.S. Government Assistance for Syria
December 10, 2012
The United States continues to support the Syrian people as the newly-formed Syrian Opposition Coalition sets a course toward the start of the peaceful, democratic, inclusive future that the people of Syria deserve. Assistance includes our vigorous diplomatic support of the newly formed Syrian Opposition Coalition, humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the conflict, and non-lethal support for local councils and civil society inside Syria.
In partnership with the United Nations and the international community, the United States is providing nearly $200 million in humanitarian assistance through established international humanitarian and non-governmental organizations to support the urgent humanitarian needs of those inside Syria and in neighboring countries who are affected by the continuing violence in Syria. As the winter approaches, we are coordinating closely with the Coalition and civilian groups inside Syria to ensure that our assistance best serves the needs of the Syrian people. We continue to develop ways for humanitarian assistance to reach previously inaccessible areas inside Syria. All humanitarian assistance is provided on the basis of need and not political affiliation.
The United States is also providing approximately $50 million in non-lethal support to the unarmed Syrian opposition and civil society groups, including local councils and grassroots organizations. This assistance provides training and equipment to the Syrian non-violent opposition to build up a nation-wide network of ethnically and religiously diverse civilian activists, which will help promote unity among the Syrian people and accelerate the country’s democratic transition. It builds the capacity of local councils and grassroots organizations and supports their efforts to respond to the needs of their communities and mobilize ongoing non-violent protest movements. Finally, our assistance includes support for independent media, efforts to document abuses of the regime, and transition planning.
The United States was actively engaged in the Doha meetings in late November, which launched the Syrian Opposition Coalition. In subsequent meetings and at the upcoming Friends of the Syrian People meeting that will gather in Marrakesh in mid-December, the United States is supporting efforts to strengthen the Syrian peoples’ leadership of the transition underway. To ensure that our assistance responds to the most pressing needs of the Syrian people, we are closely coordinating with the Coalition and Syrian-based unarmed opposition groups.
The Assad regime’s war on its own civilian population has precipitated a critical humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 40,000 killed over the past 20 months. The United States is providing nearly $200 million in humanitarian aid to assist the four million people in need inside Syria and the more than 460,000 Syrian refugees now living in neighboring countries. The U.S. funds are providing urgently needed food, clean water, medical supplies, emergency medical care, and mental health support for children. The United States is also providing relief supplies, such as plastic sheeting to repair damaged buildings, warm clothes, blankets and heaters to help conflict-affected families survive the coming winter.