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US and Turkey Collaborate on Syrian Crisis

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What are concrete steps both Turkey and the United States working together to address the Syrian crisis?

Reaffirming a strong alliance with Turkey, US Secretary John Kerry today said the United States has the same goal as Turkey from the very beginning when it comes to finding solution to end the bloodshed in Syria

In his remarks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after their meeting in Ankara in Turkey, Secretary Kerry says both countries have actually both undertaken different steps, some of them in concert together and some of them individually, in order to address the Syrian situation.

"I want to stress, to begin with, we both believe that the first priority is to try to have a political solution." - Secretary Kerry

Riot police in Damascus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Both countries would like to save lives, not see them caught up in a continued war, Secretary Kerry said.

"But we are clear about who we support in the effort to restore freedom and unity to the people of Syria." - Secretary Kerry

And in that effort, both countries worked together, not just Turkey and the United States, but a whole group of countries, all of whom have been doing different things according to their laws and according to their abilities.

Secretary explains that now in some cases, there were reservations in the earliest stages about who they are dealing with, who are they giving something to, who's going to manage it.

US and Turkey Collaborate to address the turmoil

According to Secretary Kerry, the Syrian opposition has gained greater unity, it has gained a greater voice, greater capacity.

"And now I think a lot more people are more comfortable with the notion that they've answered the question of who and there is more effort undergoing." - Secretary Kerry

He explains that together Turkey and the United States rallied to put sanctions together, which have helped to reduce the amount of money flowing to Assad regime's war machine.

Together, both countries worked to strengthen the Syrian opposition so that they are in a position now to be able to do more.

Together, both countries saw the NATO Patriots come here in order to secure Turkey's border.

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Turkey's President Abdullah Gül in Ankara, Turkey, in April 2009. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"Together we have worked on the humanitarian effort. And we acknowledge that Turkey is giving safe refuge to tens of thousands of refugees." - Secretary Kerry

US ready to help the Syrian people

According to Secretary Kerry, the United States of America is the single biggest humanitarian donor, having given about $385 million in order to be able to help create those camps, feed people in them, provide them shelter and security.

"Now, our goal is the same goal as the Syrian people's goal." - Secretary Kerry

The goal is to have a peaceful, political transition, he emphasized.

Meeting in Rome a final straw for countries to be united to end Assad's brutality?

According to Secretary Kerry, US and Turkey are determined and this was what came out of the meeting in Rome.

He says the meeting was an extremely cooperative and determined, serious atmosphere in which there was unanimity by every country there that it was time to be able to do more in order that the Assad regime comes to understand that the international community is not going to stand for SCUDs being fired indiscriminately against innocent civilians, women and children, young people, destroying the cities of Syria.

He says that is unacceptable.

"And that determination began in earnest in Rome two days ago, and I am convinced, with the efforts of Turkey and others, it is going to continue in earnest in the days ahead." - Secretary Kerry

Turkey also asserts it is nigh time for the international community to be united to end the crisis

According to Foreign Minister Davotuglu, for the last two years, a civilian nation has been under heavy bombing and heavy attack.

He says that's why it is nigh time for the international community to full mobilize and start to move ahead.

He says the Rome summit was a big confirmation.

Within the framework in the last gathering back in Rome, countries have taken a significant momentum forward.

Foreign Minister Davotuglu says many significant decisions were made not only within the United Nations Security Council being a permanent member as the United States, but also having the identity of the strongest global actor, of significant contributions to solution, has always been clear, the legitimate demands of the Syrian people will be realized and such a political transformation will take place and the necessary steps in order for that to be possible should be taken.

Foreign Minister Davotuglu says SCUDs were being fired on the civilian settlements, and that's a war crime.

He adds that such conduct should be brought to a halt once and for all.

US and Turkey work together to address global challenges

While in Ankara, Secretary Kerry said he had a very productive, very candid, direct conversation about the issues between the two countries and also about the challenges in Turkey and the challenges at US and the things that need to bring them together to work together more effectively.

"The United States stands strongly with Turkey, our NATO ally, in the fight against terrorism in all of its forms al-Qaida, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front, the PKK, and many others." - Secretary Kerry

Both countries also continued the discussion what they had discussed in Rome, an important discussion about how the international community can come together in support of the Syrian people in an effort to try to create a political transition and provide those people with the safety, security, and freedom that they deserve.

Secretary Kerry says Minister Davutoglu along with US and with their partners, believe that there is no legitimacy in a regime that commits atrocities against its own people, and we need to continue to work to make certain that the Assad regime makes a different set of choices.

"I want to thank Turkey for its clear leadership and its determination to help us end this bloodshed." - Secretary Kerry

Secretary Kerry says he is grateful for the humanitarian support that Turkey has provided, including, serving as a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Worseningt Humanitarian Situation in Syria

According to media reports, nearly two years into Syria's civil war, the region faces a staggering humanitarian disaster.

More than 600,000 Syrians reportedly have fled to over-burdened neighboring countries and the UN anticipates that number could soon exceed 1 million if the exodus continues at its current pace of about 3,000 refugees a day.

Inside Syria, more than 2 million civilians are displaced and the UN estimates that 4 million are in dire need of assistance.

Syrians Struggling to Survive

Syrian civilians are struggling to survive in communities besieged by violence, chaos and destruction. Entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. Fleeing families face recurring displacement amid a moving frontline. Supplies of food, water and electricity have sharply dwindled, sanitation in many areas has halted, increasing the threat of disease, yet medical care has become scarce.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 60, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

US Responds to Syrian Crisis

In April 2012, with the deteriorating situation in Syria due to turmoil, the United States of America bolstered efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in the country.

The UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it's an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.
There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries.

In terms of funding, the United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.

US pproach is to work through international and nongovernmental organizations.

The United States commends the brave and dedicated work that the humanitarian organizations on the ground in Syria and in the neighboring countries are carrying out, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the World Food Program, and many international nongovernmental organizations.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

To help meet the growing needs, the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more than 400,000 people in Syria and neighboring countries so far.

One of US largest emergency partners right now is the World Food Program, which has been helping to reach a hundred thousand people per month in some of the most conflict-affected cities and zones since this conflict began.

World Food Program, WFP, is being distributed in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

With support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians, so the program is expanding.

US assistance is through international and non-governmental humanitarian partners which include:

-$10.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP);

-$8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);

-$7.8 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs);

-$3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and

-$3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 70, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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