The conflict raging in Syria, which began three and a half years ago when Syrian President Bashar al Assad met peaceful anti-government protests with lethal force, has now claimed the lives of at least 170,000 people, the majority of whom are civilians. In addition, millions of Syrians have been forced from their homes, some fleeing to neighboring nations, others internally displaced in their own country.
As Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, “Nearly 11 million Syrians today are struggling to survive one of the worst humanitarian crises in living memory.” Calling the Assad regime “brutally indefensible and illegitimate,” Mr. Kerry noted that the regime is currently “asphyxiating half a million Syrians in Aleppo by obstructing deliveries of food, water and medicine, and dropping dozens of barrel bombs a day on the city and surrounding suburbs. Syrians all over the country are being butchered at the hands of a ruthless tyrant.”
To help get life-saving assistance to the civilians who are victims of such barbarity, the United States is providing nearly $378 million in additional aid for those affected. With this funding, the total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the crisis is more than $2.4 billion; with $1.2 billion helping over 4.7 million people inside Syria, and $1.2 billion aiding nearly 3 million refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries affected by the crisis.
The United States remains the single-largest donor of humanitarian assistance for the victims of the Syrian conflict, and, as Secretary of State Kerry has said, that assistance is having an impact on the ground. “With our help,” he noted, “more than 4 million people in Syria have food to eat. More than 1.9 million patients have been treated in more than 300
U.S.- supported hospitals and health clinics across Syria. And our assistance feeds, shelters, and provides medicine and water to millions of refugees throughout the region in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, all coping with the burden of hosting thousands of refugees.”
Secretary of State Kerry said that as the United States continues its humanitarian efforts, “We remain committed to finding a political solution to this crisis. We must bring the violence and bloodshed to an end, and work toward a future of dignity and freedom that all Syrians deserve.”