The United States on Friday announced an additional donation of 30 million dollars for humanitarian services in Syria in response to the growing demands for assistance by civilians caught in the continued conflict, dpa reported.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also announced new funds in the amount of 15 million dollars to support Syrian civilian opposition groups. Clinton made the announcement as she chaired a meeting in New York of the Friends of the Syrian People.
The humanitarian donation of 30 million dollars will help get food, water, blankets and critical medical services to "people suffering under the relentless assaults, based on need, regardless of political affiliation," Clinton said.
The donations are in addition to 100 million dollars the US has given this year for humanitarian services for the Syrian people.
The United Nations estimated a total of 2.5 million Syrians have been affected by the conflict while close to 200,000 of them having fled to Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, and most of them are now living in refugee camps in those countries. The UN last week upgraded its estimates and launched a new appeal for 488 million dollars for humanitarian services in Syria. Previous appeals were funded at less than 50 per cent.
"We are taking new steps to meet the growing humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, to support the opposition as it moves toward an inclusive, democratic transition, and to further pressure and isolate the regime," Clinton said in a statement. "As the need continues to grow, so must the emergency response."
The new US donation of 15 million dollars to support Syrian civilian opposition groups will bring US support to the unarmed opposition to almost 45 million, Clinton said.
She said the new funds would go to purchase more than 1,100 sets of communications equipment, including satellite-linked computers, telephones and cameras, as well as train more than 1,000 activists, students, and independent journalists.
"We are working to help them strengthen their networks, avoid regime persecution, and document human rights abuses," Clinton said. The US is working to "support those brave Syrians who are laying the groundwork for a democratic transition from the ground up," she added.
Washington will continue to expand sanctions against individuals and groups in Syria that continue to help the Syrian government obtain weapons and communications equipment used in the war against armed opposition, she said.
"Our most recent measures target Hezbollah leaders, an arms company in Belarus that is supplying fuses for aerial bombs used against civilians, and senior figures in Syria's military," Clinton said.