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US gov’t announces additional $696m in humanitarian assistance to Syrian people

By JT - Jun 30,2020 - Last updated at Jun 30,2020

Migrants camp out on the north-eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, March 3 (AFP photo)

AMMAN — At today’s fourth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, hosted by the European Union, Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador James Jeffrey announced more than $696 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria in response to the ongoing crisis. 

According to a US embassy statement, this brings the total US humanitarian response to more than $11.3 billion since the start of the Syrian crisis.

The US remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance — both in Syria and around the world, the statement said.

This assistance is a component of the country’s National Security Strategy, which “directs the US to continue to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, while ensuring increased global burden-sharing and supporting displaced people close to their homes to help meet their needs until they can safely and voluntarily return home”. 

Tuesday’s announcement of additional assistance through the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is part of ongoing US efforts to provide life-saving food, nutrition, shelter, education, medical care, livelihoods, safe drinking water, hygiene supplies and improved sanitation, as well as mental health and psychosocial support to assist millions of Syrians in need, according to the statement.

It also supports “much-needed counselling” and other protection programmes for the most vulnerable groups, including children, women, persons with disabilities and the elderly. This aid will be provided through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the World Food Programme (WFP), non-governmental organisations, and others, the statement noted.

The international community relies on cross-border and cross-line access to deliver humanitarian assistance and Syrians rely on this aid to survive, according to the statement. 

The US “strongly supports” UN Secretary General Guterres’ recommendation to restore cross-border access between northeast Syria and Iraq to deliver aid and medicine. 

The US “supports freedom of movement for all, including forcibly displaced persons and conflict-affected Syrians, as well as the safe, voluntary and dignified return or resettlement and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons in a process that is free from coercion”, the statement said, adding that the nation “reaffirms its commitment to a credible and inclusive Syrian-led, UN-facilitated political solution pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2254”.

 

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