Yesterday, I was honored to co-host with Italy a productive meeting on Syria, during which I reiterated the imperative of ensuring that vital humanitarian assistance reaches all Syrians in need. I underscored the importance of reauthorizing and expanding the ability of the United Nations to provide this life-saving assistance to the Syrian people across borders — a need that the COVID-19 pandemic has made especially acute. I also reaffirmed our strong support for UN-led efforts to reach a political solution that will bring an end to Syria’s decade-long conflict consistent with UNSCR 2254 and to promote accountability for the Assad regime’s continued atrocities.
I was pleased to announce that the United States is providing more than $436 million in additional humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Syrians both in Syria and in the surrounding countries and generous communities that host them. This includes nearly $99 million in assistance to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support the provision of food, clean water, shelter, health care, nutrition, protection, and education, among other forms of relief. With this funding, the United States has provided nearly $13.5 billion to the people of Syria since the start of the decade-long conflict.
We are grateful to our humanitarian partners across the region who continue to respond to this complex crisis under extraordinarily difficult conditions. I encourage other states to join us in providing essential humanitarian assistance to Syrians and their host communities.
Yesterday’s announcement follows the recent publication by the U.S. government of Syria General License 21, which builds upon already existing exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations for humanitarian exports and assistance to Syria. This new General License will further support the critical work of governments, international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector in providing COVID-19-related exports and assistance to the people of Syria.
Our actions and announcements yesterday underscore our commitment to bringing an end to the immense suffering and instability Syrians have endured for over a decade, while the Assad regime continues to wage a war of violence on its people and obstruct efforts to bring a political resolution to the conflict. We remain committed to supporting the Syrian people and promoting respect for the dignity and human rights of all Syrians.