With the conflict still persistin in Syria, the United States of America today laid groundwork for peaceful and democratic future of the country.
In his remarks to the Friends of the Syrian people in Morocco, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns says the atrocity in Syria must end, the dignity of Syrians must be respected and a democratic transition must begin.
“All of us are frustrated that this terrible conflict persists. But with every day that passes, the regime’s hold on power weakens.” – Mr. Burns
He says territory slips from regime’s grasp and the opposition becomes more unified and organized.
In a growing number of towns and villages, a new Syria is being born, Mr. Burns said.
“The regime of Bashar al-Asad must and will go. The sooner he steps aside, the better for all Syrians.” – Mr. Burns
With the support of the international community, the US has laid the groundwork for a peaceful, democratic future for Syria.
According to Mr. Burns, the United States is pressing ahead on three fronts:
“First, here in Marrakesh, we are working to achieve a peaceful political transition.” – Mr. Burns
He says the United States joined its partners in taking an important step forward.
The US and international community have now recognized the Syrian Opposition Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The US has extended an invitation to Moaz al-Khatib and the Coalition leadership to visit Washington at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Burns says he is looking forward to meeting with key members of the Coalition later today.
“I want to reaffirm that we support the diplomacy of Joint Special Envoy Brahimi.” – Mr. Burns
The US has been intensively engaged with Special Envoy Brahimi, our Russian counterparts, and other partners to assist him in his efforts to bring about an effective political transition as outlined in the Geneva communique – the core element of which is a transitional governing body, formed on the basis of mutual consent, which would exercise full executive power.
He pointed out that talk of peace may sound distant in a time of conflict and a transition is coming, one way or another.
“At the same time, we are also increasing international pressure on the Asad regime.” – Mr. Burns
The US is tightening sanctions and working to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable for their crimes.
Second, to help address the growing humanitarian crisis, the US is providing an additional $14 million to get emergency medical care to those who need it most and to help Syrians prepare for the coming winter.
The aid includes essential medicines and surgical supplies, special nutritional supplements for 225,000 hungry children and everything from heavy-duty plastic insulation to blankets and boots for thousands of families.
“This brings our total humanitarian assistance to more than $210 million reaching more than 1.5 million Syrians inside and outside their country.” – Mr. Burns
The US is committed to do more to coordinate our assistance with the Opposition Coalition.
“Third, all of us have work to do to be ready for the democratic transition we are working to hasten.” – Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns says in Doha last month, opponents of the Asad regime from across the political spectrum took an important step forward when they united behind the new Syrian Opposition Coalition.
The US looks to the Coalition to continue creating more formal structures within the opposition and to accelerate planning for a democratic political transition that protects the rights, the dignity, and the aspirations of all Syrians and all communities.
“That means taking concrete steps to include women and minorities; engage with religious leaders and civil society; and discourage reprisals and inter-communal violence.” – Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns says the United States will support these efforts as a friend and partner.
The US is contributing approximately $50 million to help civil society and civilian opposition groups communicate, organize, and evade regime attacks.
In addition, the US ise providing direct support to local councils identified by the Coalition as they begin providing basic services and governance.
The US also looks to the Coalition to stand firm against extremists who would hijack the resistance for their own ends or sow division among Syria’s communities.
“Human rights abuses cannot be tolerated, no matter who commits them. They will only weaken the Syria you hope to inherit.” – Mr. Burns
This week, Mr. Burns says the United States designated the extremist group al-Nusrah Front as a terrorist organization. He asys this group is little more than a front for al-Qaida in Iraq.
In recent weeks, the US has seen Syrians take to the streets in places like Damascus, Aleppo, and Idlib expressing strong support for the vision of the Coalition.
“Now the task is to make that vision real. To offer a true alternative to the Asad regime – democratic and inclusive rather than dictatorial and divisive.” – Mr. Burns
He adds that the road ahead will not be easy. However, Mr. Burns pointed out, it holds the enormous promise of a better future for all Syrians, with the strong support of all of us in the international community.
Reports say Syrian conflict still appeared to have no end in sight in Syria, humanitarian situation across the country is also “deteriorating rapidly.
Thousands have been killed, thousands more injured in the Middle East country due to violence and unrest.
More than 2.5 million people across the Middle Eastern country are affected by the violence.
In June this year, with growing influx of civilians fleeing from conflict, UN reported that humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.
Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection.
OCHA reported that aid agencies continue to face significant access constraints to reaching people in need.
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 and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.
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.
Aid workers in Syria are putting their lives in jeopardy every day to get this relief to vulnerable children, women, and men caught in this crisis.
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.
In addition, the World Food Program, WFP has distributed id 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.
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 19, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.