Syrian government forces hit Syria's largest Palestinian refugee neighborhood with airstrikes on December 16th.
Syrian government forces hit Syria's largest Palestinian refugee neighborhood with airstrikes on December 16th. The United States is deeply concerned by the reports that dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed or wounded in Yarmouk, an area of Damascus that is home to 150,000 Palestinian refugees and approximately one million Syrians.
These latest attacks mark a significant and alarming escalation of the conflict in Syria. All parties must stop unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law. Those who are responsible for atrocities against the civilian population must be held accountable.
In addition to the suffering endured by the Syrian people, the United States is concerned about the situation of the more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who are also increasingly suffering from the escalating violence. The government of Bashar al-Assad should allow all humanitarian workers full and unfettered access in order to protect and assist the victims of the conflict.
The U.S. government remains the largest bilateral financial supporter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, in the Near East including its emergency operations in Syria. UNRWA is providing cash and food assistance to the more than 350,000 Palestinians in Syria who have been directly affected by the civil war, as well as sheltering displaced Syrians and other civilians in its schools and other buildings. Vulnerable refugees in Syria are also receiving emergency health care, water, sanitation, and educational support through partners with U.S. government funding.
Recently, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns announced the United States is providing nearly $14 million in additional humanitarian aid that will provide nutritional support for children, as well as additional emergency medical and winterization supplies to families in need inside Syria. With this new assistance, the United States is providing $210 million in humanitarian assistance to help over 1.5 million people inside Syria and the hundreds of thousands who have fled to neighboring countries.
The United States, along with the international community, will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the innocent children, women, and men affected by the conflict in Syria are provided with life-saving assistance.