US to boost fund­ing for Syria re­lief

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: The United States said on Thurs­day it would pro­vide more than US$720 mil­lion (22.7 bil­lion baht) in hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance for the re­sponse to the cri­sis in Syria.

Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Stephen Biegun made the an­nounce­ment at an event on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York.

He said the money would go “both for Syr­i­ans in­side the coun­try and for those in des­per­ate need across the re­gion”.

He said the funds would bring to­tal US sup­port since the start of the cri­sis to more than $12 bil­lion.

A crack­down by Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad on pro­test­ers in 2011 led to civil war, with Iran and Rus­sia back­ing the govern­ment and the United States sup­port­ing the op­po­si­tion.

Mil­lions of peo­ple have fled Syria and mil­lions more have been in­ter­nally dis­placed.

In July, the United States im­posed new sanc­tions aimed at cut­ting off funds for Mr As­sad’s govern­ment.

Syr­ian au­thor­i­ties blame Western sanc­tions for wide­spread civil­ian hard­ship in the coun­try, where a col­lapse of the cur­rency has led to soar­ing prices and peo­ple strug­gling to af­ford food and ba­sic sup­plies.

The United States says its sanc­tions on Syria are not in­tended to harm the peo­ple and do not tar­get hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance.

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