Secretary Kerry announced that the United States will provide an additional $123 million in non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition forces.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States will provide an additional $123 million in non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition forces. The additional aid brings the U.S. total non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition and civil society groups to $250 million.
Speaking after a meeting of the Syrian opposition and its 11 main foreign supporters in Istanbul, Mr. Kerry urged other foreign backers to make similar pledges of assistance with the goal of reaching $1 billion in total international support.
The United States will work with the Syrian Coalition and other opposition representatives to determine how the new $123 million in non-lethal aid can best meet the needs of the Syrian people and lead the way to a political transition that will bring an end to this conflict, and build the inclusive, democratic Syria that its people deserve.
The U.S. will also use a portion of this non-lethal aid to implement President Barack Obama's directive to provide an expanded range of support to the Supreme Military Council, or SMC. The plan is to expand this new support beyond military food rations and medical kits to include other types of non-lethal supplies, which would be determined in collaboration with SMC leadership.
In recognition of the devastating humanitarian situation as a result of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's refusal to step aside, Secretary Kerry also announced nearly $25 million in additional food assistance for the Syrian people. The aid will provide 25,500 metric tons of wheat – providing four months' supply of flour to over one million people, as well as food rations for those inside Syria and refugees in Jordan affected by the violence. The United Nations World Food Program will begin distributing the wheat to those in need in all 14 Syrian governorates as quickly as possible. The United States is the largest donor of food assistance both within Syria and for refugees in the affected countries and is providing a total of over $409 million in humanitarian aid.
The additional assistance underscores the United States' firm support for a political solution to the crisis in Syria and for the opposition's goal of an inclusive, tolerant vision for a post-Assad Syria.