US Provides $60M of Nonlethal Assistance to Syrian Opposition

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

In his remarks with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Moaz al-Khatib, US Secretary of State John Kerry announces that the United States of America will be providing an additional $60 million immediately in nonlethal assistance to support the coalition in its operational needs day to day as it continues to organize and work for the political transition that we all want to see.

According to Mr. Kerry, 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.

“This includes helping Syrians preserve institutions of state, which are critical to enabling a future transition in Syria itself.” – Mr. Kerry

Bombedout vehicles after street fighting in Aleppo, October 2012.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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.

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

And as the regime continues to lose ground, Mr. Kerry says these funds will also help the opposition forces and political leaders are able to extend stability, as well as build representative government and rule of law and extend that rule of law to those newly liberated areas.

Mr. Kerry emphasizes that 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

While in Rome for a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Moaz al-Khatib, Secretary Kerry says the Syrian opposition is the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.

“It is particularly important to be joined here today by our partners in this endeavor in pursuit of peace, the Syrian Opposition Coalition.” – Mr. Kerry

Mr. Kerry says the 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.

Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo, October 2012.

“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.” – Mr. Kerry

He emphasizes 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.

Mr. Kerry notes or more than a year, the United States and its partners who gathered in Rome have called on Assad to heed the voice of the Syrian people and to halt his war machine. Instead, Mr. Kerrys says they seen is his brutality increase.

US: Assad cannot find his way out of the brutalities

According to Mr. Kerry, just this week, the world witnessed a desperate leader engage in ruthless attacks on Aleppo with rockets and with the appalling use of SCUD missiles, claiming dozens of innocent lives.

He heard this morning the story of maybe 50 to 70 young men and women who were taking an exam, dreaming of their future, whose lives were snuffed out by one of Bashar Assad’s SCUD missiles.

“That’s what he thinks of the future and of the people of Syria.” – Mr. Kerry

He adds even hospitals have come under attack in his cold-blooded effort to cling to power.

“The simple fact is Assad cannot shoot his way out of this.” – Mr. Kerry

The Syrian opposition can make a difference

According to John Kerry, as Assad deludes himself in pursuit of the military solution, the United States, its partners, and now the Syrian Opposition Coalition, make a different choice.

“Our choice is a political solution, outlined in the Geneva communique, which Russia has also signed onto.” – Mr. Kerry

He says it is in line with the opposition’s own transition plan, and this must include a transitioning governing body with full executive powers formed on the basis of mutual consent.

“This is the right path to peace, and it is one that can unite the Syrian people, rebuild a society that respects and protects them regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or gender.” – Mr. Kerry

He says these are the same standards that we set for our own countries, so there’s nothing different here.

All Syrians, including those who have not yet taken sides in this conflict, must know that they all can have a future in a post-Assad Syria, he underlined.

Mr. Kerry underlines the opposition is prepared to take the steps necessary to get there.

“The question we ask today is this: Will the regime allow its people this chance at peace, or is it going to continue its brutal campaign?” – Mr. Kerry

Mr. Kerry makes clear that the United States decision take further steps now is the result of the continued brutality of a superior armed force, propped up by foreign fighters from Iran and Hezbollah, all of which threatens to destroy Syria.

He says the United States and all the countries represented here believe the Syrian Opposition Coalition can successfully lead the way to a peaceful transition, but they cannot do it alone.

“They need more support from all of us, and they need Bashar al-Assad to make a different set of decisions.” -Mr. Kerry

US Responds to the needs of the Syrian people

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.

Is Assad Clinging to Power?

Earlier this year, as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad recently delivered a speech to his supporters in Damascus on Sunday, the United States of America said al-Assad’s speech is yet another attempt by the regime to cling to power and it does nothing to advance the Syrian people’s goal of a political transition.

As Assad spoke of dialogue, the regime is deliberately stoking sectarian tensions and continuing to kill its own people by attacking Sunni towns and villages in the mixed areas of Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkmen in Lattakia province.

US says Assad has lost all legitimacy and must step aside to enable a political solution and a democratic transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people.

The United States continues to support the Geneva Action Group’s framework for a political solution, which was endorsed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Arab League, and the UN General Assembly.

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.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.