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Preparing For Transition In Syria

Demonstrators hold banners near damaged buildings during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, after Friday prayers in Kafranbel near Idlib December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Raed Al-Fares/Shaam News Network/Handout (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILI

The United States has committed $50 million in non-humanitarian assistance to strengthen Syria’s unarmed opposition groups.

The United States and the international community are helping the Syrian opposition prepare for a successful democratic transition once the Bashar al-Assad government is defeated. The goal is to assist the Syrian opposition in establishing a more just, inclusive, and peaceful Syria.

Preparing For Transition In Syria
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The United States has committed $50 million in non-humanitarian assistance to strengthen Syria’s unarmed opposition groups. These resources aim to help Syrian non-violent opposition groups strengthen civil society, media, and democratic transition planning.

Support to civil society groups and local councils includes efforts to train, equip, and build the capacity of grassroots activists and opposition groups – including women and youth – primarily inside the country; develop existing and emerging groups’ abilities to mobilize citizens, share information and build networks.

U.S. assistance will also support interreligious and communal dialogues to encourage citizens’ participation in shaping the direction of the transition; develop the leadership capacity of women to play a significant role in the transition and support professional human rights documentation in order to hold individuals on all sides of the conflict accountable for abuses.

Support to independent media projects includes community radio stations providing information for refugees about available services, training for networks of citizen journalists, bloggers, and cyber-activists; technical assistance and equipment to enhance the information and communications security of Syrian activists within Syria.

In order to support democratic transition planning, the U.S. is providing assistance to create links between unarmed opposition members inside Syria with supporters outside the country. U.S. assistance continues to support the Syria Justice and Accountability Center, an independent entity that documents human rights abuses and coordinates transitional justice and efforts to hold individual accountable for abuses.

The goal is to encourage Syrian activists’ participation in political and economic transition planning, to facilitate the active engagement of the business community in the transition, and to provide emerging political parties and civil society entities with technical assistance.

With already more than 40,000 dead in Syria and over 500,000 refugees in neighboring states and North Africa, the end of the Assad regime can’t come soon enough. The time has come for the Syrian Opposition Coalition and Syrian civil society to usher in a democratic political transition that will protect the rights of all Syrians.