Saying that situation in Syria is simply horrific, the United States of America today said it will continue to support the Syrian opposition as it seeks to find a democratic, unified post-Assad Syria.
In his remarks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian Opposition Coalition President Moaz al-Khatib in Turkey, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US wants to see the coalition lead the way by ramping up its ability in order to be able to provide assistance, deliver services, and respond to the needs of the Syrian people.
He says President Obama is committed to be helpful in non-lethal aid in order to help the Syrians be able to manage that.
For the last several months, the US government has steadily increased its non-lethal assistance to more than $127 million, and that aid is providing food now, medical kits now, and support for local leaders who are trying to lay the groundwork for a stable and a democratic future.
“We are all committed to continue to support the Syrian opposition, and there would have to be further announcements about the kind of support that that might be in the days ahead.” – Secretary Kerry
US supports the vision of Syrian Opposition for a pluralistic Syria
Secretary Kerry says the US supports the important documents of the Syrian opposition that expresses their vision for the future of Syria.
The Coalition is committed to a pluralistic Syria, to a Syria in which every minority has minority rights protected.
That includes all the minorities, in which everybody will have an ability to be able to make choices for the future, Secretary Kerry.
“It is a vision that rejects terrorism and rejects extremism.” – Secretary Kerry
He says it is a vision that is pledged to never use chemical weapons.
“It is a vision that is committed to a political solution, first of all.” – Secretary Kerry
In Istanbul, the supporters of the Syrian opposition, came together.
Secretary Kerry says the ministers of all the countries that came to Istanbul are committed not only to the first choice of a political peaceful solution, but they committed to guarantee that they will separate and make certain that all aid goes through the Supreme Military Command, through General Idris.
All committed that the aid and assistance from every country will go through the Supreme Military Command and General Idris. We also committed to a standard of conduct, Secretary Kerry noted.
“We committed to guarantee that we would reaffirm the goal of a pluralistic, fully representative Syria without any retribution against any particular sect or individual.” – Secretary Kerry
Secretary Kerry says the situation in Syria is simply horrific.
According to Secretary Kerry, the situation in Syria is horrible.
The cities and neighborhoods are under fire constantly from heavy artillery and ballistic missiles are used against people, innocent people.
“Assad is using his air force to reign down terror, dropping various kind of bombs, some very questionable, on the people of his country.” – Secretary Kerry
He says the ongoing conflict is now spilling across borders, and it is threatening stability in neighboring countries as well.
Earlier this week, tragically, the regime’s violence led to the loss, in one moment, of 30 innocent children.
The bloodshed needs to stop
Secretary Kerry says the bloodshed in Syria must stop. The meeting in Istanbul has been an opportunity to talk about the possibilities of a peace and a transition.
In addition, Secretary Kerry says President Obama has been absolutely clear: The United States is committed to a democratic, unified post-Assad Syria.
Secretary Kerry has been directed to step up the efforts with respect to the opposition in particular and reach out to a wide range of people who have a stake in the future of Syria, and that includes, obviously, the Syrian opposition as it stands today, but also Kurds, Christians, Druze, and Alawi, who themselves have a future in the future of Syria.
US and Partners strengthening the Syrian opposition
US and its partners are helping build the Syrian political opposition, including by recognizing the Syrian opposition coalition, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Comprising of diverse representatives inside and outside Syria, the coalition is committed to a democratic, inclusive Syria free from the influence of the violent extremists.
US believes that supporting such entities is the best way to ensure that the Syrian state that emerges after the Assad regime is inclusive and representative.
These political efforts are intertwined with the push for negotiations, and negotiated political transition is the best solution to the crisis in Syria.
In addition, the Geneva communique calls for a transitional governing body with full executive powers and formed on the basis of mutual consent.
US Working With Partners to Alleviate Human Suffering in Syria
Saying that Syrian civilians face an unprecedented level of ruthlessness from the Assad for two years since the start of revolution, the United States of America is working with its partners to alleviate the human suffering in the African country.
What started out as a peaceful demand for dignity, freedom and basic rights has become one of the most devastating conflicts of the 21st century and became a nightmare to Syrian citizens.
The crisis reportedly killed 80,000 citizens since the beginning of the conflict and the number is rising as the fighting in Damascus and southern Syria intensifies.
Human suffering is evident
Reports say March was the deadliest month of the conflict with over 6,000 Syrians killed and with three to 4 million people are now internally displaced.
More than 1.2 million people are refugees and is predicted these numbers could double or even triple by the end of this year, nearly one third of Syria’s population.
How US responds to the crisis?
In his testimony on U.S. Policy Toward Syria in Washington DC, Acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones for Near Eastern Affairs says the United States is working to alleviate this human suffering.
The United States is the largest bilateral humanitarian donor and it is providing nearly $385 million in assistance to those in need across all 14 governorates in Syria and across the neighboring countries.
The money is being spend on emergency medical care and supplies, blankets, food, clean water and shelter.
The US is sending flour to 50 bakeries in Aleppo and sponsoring food and sanitation projects for the separate families in the Atmeh refugee camp.
Kuwait and over 40 countries pledged $1.5 billion to help Syrian refugee earlier this year.
Coordinated efforts with partners in the region
The US is pressing the countries now to make good on these pledges.
To address humanitarian need, the US government is preparing for a Syria without Assad by helping the opposition lay the foundation for a democratic transition that protects the rights of all Syrians and that fosters, rather than threatens, stability in the Middle East.
This effort is being coordinated closely with our partners in the region, including Israel, she reported.
US: Assad has long lost his legitimacy
US has reiterated that Assad has long lost his legitimacy and whom the opposition will never accept.
President Assad will not play any role in that transitional governing body.
The Obama Administration pointed out that it is not in the United States or the Syrian peoples’ best interest to provide lethal support to the Syrian opposition.
The US continues to believe that a political solution to the crisis is the best way to save the Syrian people further suffering and to avert further destruction of the country for which the regime bears overwhelming responsibility.
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.
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.