The United States is providing more than $12 million in relief for the Syrian people who are under attack from their own government. The assistance is being directed through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and nongovernmental organizations.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization issued a special alert over the state of food security in Syria. The World Food Program, or WFP, estimates that 1.4 million people face food insecurity due to ongoing violence. The UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross, who are receiving $5.5 million and $3 million respectively in U.S. funds, are “delivering critical medical services and supplies, food, water, blankets, hygiene kits and heaters to the Syrian people,” according to the State Department.
The WFP is planning to assist 100,000 Syrians who have been affected by the now yearlong assault by President Bashar Assad’s forces by providing food rations to displaced Syrians and host families, households that have lost breadwinners or livelihoods, female-headed households, and unaccompanied minors. Since February 20th, the WFP has delivered 16,850 family food rations to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, enough to feed approximately 84,000 people for one month. But several of the worst-affected areas remain inaccessible due to violence.
In addition, the United States is working to boost existing stockpiles of humanitarian supplies and equipment in the region that can be delivered to vulnerable and besieged Syrian communities as access and conditions allow.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted that “as peaceful protests have grown, the Assad regime has become more bloody and violent vis-à-vis its own people, has gone into town after town trying to suppress the violence with guns rather than sitting and talking with its own people.” The U.N. estimates that over 8000 Syrians have been killed.
The United States and others have responded to the violence by increasing sanctions against the Assad regime, “with more and more countries closing the noose on Syria,” said Spokesperson Nuland, ”refusing to trade, refusing to conduct normal diplomacy, refusing to allow normal flights and commerce.”