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Syrian Crisis: Is US Turning a Deaf Ear?

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With speculations continue to stir that US is turning a deaf ear on Syrian crisis especially when it come to its leaderhip role, US State Secretary John Kerry says the US playing the significant role in addressing the crisis.

In an interview with with Nicole Gaouette of Bloomberg in Qatar, Secretary Kerry says he doesn't agree with the premise that US is not playing greater role in Syrian crisis.

"They're playing a very significant role. The President has initiated from the beginning the leadership role in putting the sanctions in place. - Secretary Kerry

According to Secretary Kerry, the President has led an effort together with a number of other countries, but led an effort that Secretary Clinton was very active and moving around, trying to speak with the opposition, identify them, bring them together, help them unify, get them recognized.

"And for a period of time, nobody knew who they were or what they were capable of or what they stood for or what they were going to do." - Secretary Kerry

homs
Demonstration in Homs against Assad. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
He explains that all of that has come together with significant input from the United States of America.

In addition, President Obama has sent Secretary to Rome in an effort to ratchet it up yet another notch.

US Deeply involved in the crisis?

According to Secretary Kerry says US not finish at all in terms of aiding the opposition.

"We're the biggest humanitarian donor." - Secretary Kerry

He says US is deeply involved in helping the Jordanians and others be able to deal with that crisis.

US is helping with respect to the camps in Turkey.

However, Secretary Kerry points out that the United States maybe need to do more to make sure people know exactly what they are doing, but they are doing a lot.

"And I think it is fair to want to make certain that the people of the region understand our commitment to the people." - Secretary Kerry

That's why Secretary Kerry explains that he has been very outspoken in these last days with great clarity about what they care about and what they are fighting for.

Understanding the impatience of Syrian opposition

Secretary Kerry notes the US understands the impatience of the Syrian opposition.

doha
Coalition members in Doha. In center, president al-Khatib, along with VPs Seif and Atassi, as well as all SNC chairmen Ghalioun, Sieda and Sabra. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"I know it's frustrating because they think that, plunk, and you just have this weapon or that weapon and it's over." - Secretary Kerry

He explains that the fact is that the President believes that this has to be done in a way that doesn't create more killing before it gives an opportunity to be able to try to make a choice for a peaceful resolution.

And Geneva was specifically about that peaceful resolution, he added.

"So by ratcheting it up in Rome, but doing so in a measured and thoughtful way, the President is saying to President Assad: Look, we're ratcheting up and we're committed, but you have an opportunity here to be able to make a choice to have a peaceful outcome." - Secretary Kerry

Syrian opposition frustrated with the aid offer from Rome?

There are notions that Syrian opposition express some frustration with the aid offer from Rome, saying that what they really want is weapons and the like, and not food.

Secretary Kerry says in the interview that there's a lot of weapons coming in.

He notes other nationshave already made a decision to provide lethal assistance, and it is going in, a lot of it.

"And so I don't think that the United States' choice at this point is dispositive one way or the other." - Secretary Kerry

He further explains that the President Obama is trying to see if they can have this transitional government put in place and reduce the killing and reduce the destruction.

"More weapons means more destruction and more killing." - Secretary Kerry

US pledges $60M of nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition

Believing that the Syrian Opposition Coalition cannot successfully lead the way to a peaceful transition alone, the United States of America has pledged $60M of nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposiiton.

The funding will allow the opposition to reach out and help the local councils to be able to rebuild in their liberated areas of Syria so that they can provide basic services to people, who often lack access today to medical care, to food, to sanitation.

In addition, the funding will help those who work within them, those without blood on their hands, to be able to continue to do their important humanitarian work.

US will also channel this assistance to those projects and local groups that the coalition decides needs it the most.

This new support that President Obama has ordered is on top of more than 50 million that US provided to help the Syrian activists organize opposition efforts across the country to be able to communicate with each other and to broadcast a message of hope across their country.

US, Italy and Syrian Opposition Coalition United to stop Assad's war machine

US believes Coalition stand in very stark contrast to the rule of Bashar al-Assad, who long ago lost his legitimacy and who is out of time and who must be out of power.

"So with our united voice today, and the voices of those other ministers who joined us from other countries from the Gulf, across Europe with our united voice today, we express our commitment to helping the Syrian people in order to achieve their goal to live in a free and a safe and a just society. Their goal is our goal." - Secretary Kerry

They are determined to find a way forward to a better day that they know awaits Syria, a day that will not come as long as Assad is in power.

US aid to Syria

In November 2012, the United States of America provided$30 million in additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of Syrian people affected by the turmoil.

In Syria, the additional funding will allow for provision of food aid to families in need.

In neighboring countries, the additional assistance from the United States will provide food supplies, hot meals, and food vouchers for families who have fled the violence in Syria.

In addition, the additional assistance will be provided through the World Food Program (WFP), which is providing food aid to 1.5 million people in Syria and the refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

The United States is the largest donor of food aid for those affected by the conflict in Syria through WFP.

In August 2012, with the violence engulfing Syria, the United States of America has announced an additional $12 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the total amount of U.S. emergency aid to more than $76 million.

The U.S. government continues to place on ending the escalating violence which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

The humanitarian needs continue to grow whre the number of Syrians displaced to neighboring countries now exceeds 130,000, with nearly 1.5 million in need inside Syria, including UN-estimated one million internally displaced persons.

The Syrian violence has led a crisis on a humanitarian scale that is of the highest priority within the U.S. government, and for which the US pledges to continue to provide support.

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

The UN estimates that there are over 2 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it's an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

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.

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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