The U.S. expressed its support for the Syrian Opposition Coalition, or SOC, and its president Ahmad Jarba, on their recent visit to the U.S.
The U.S. expressed its support for the Syrian Opposition Coalition, or SOC, and its president Ahmad Jarba, on their recent visit to the U.S. The SOC has helped establish an interim government to enhance the capacity of local governance inside Syria, increase humanitarian assistance, and restore essential services in some of the liberated areas.
In an effort to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, the U.S. has now determined that the SOC’s representative offices in the U.S. are foreign missions under the Foreign Missions Act. This designation is a reflection of America’s partnership with the SOC as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and will facilitate their outreach to the Syrian diaspora in the United States.
Secondly, the State Department is working with the U.S. Congress to provide more than $27 million in new non-lethal assistance, which brings the total non-lethal support the U.S. has committed to about $287 million. Funds will go to the Syrian In Green initiative which delivers urgently needed equipment and supplies like food baskets, generators, trucks, and school supplies.
Money will also go to search and rescue kits, civil defense materials, and communications equipment to support civil defense efforts. Financial and technical assistance will support Syrian independent media, including 13 radio and television outlets. And finally, assistance will provide governance training and communications equipment to more than 250 representatives of local councils inside Syria to improve their capacity to deliver essential services.
The United States also increased its deliveries of non-lethal assistance to commanders in the Free Syrian Army. In coordination with the Syrian Supreme Military Council, the U.S. is providing $80 million in non-lethal equipment, $5 million of which was delivered in April 2014. Equipment includes among other items, cargo trucks, ambulances, and construction vehicles. Additional deliveries of food, vehicles, and medical equipment are planned over the next several weeks.
The United States continues to reject any unilateral effort by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hold presidential elections. The only solution to the Syrian crisis is a negotiated political settlement that brings an end to the murderous Assad regime and ushers in a government capable of serving the interests of the Syrian people.