US$30 million in extra aid for Syrians

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 5:13pm

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced US$30 million in extra humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict in Syria, as she welcomed its new opposition coalition.

Clinton, in Australia for annual security and defence talks, said on Wednesday that the formation of a new Syrian opposition coalition was “a good beginning”.

“We agreed today that the formation of the new Syrian opposition coalition is an important step forward and will help the international community better target our assistance where it is needed most,” she said.

“Today I’m pleased to announce that the US is providing an additional US$30 million in humanitarian assistance to help get much-needed food to hungry people inside Syria and to refugees who have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.”

Clinton said she welcomed the progress made to broaden and unify the opposition leadership under the National Coalition.

“We have long called for this kind of organisation,” she said, but added that Washington now wanted to see that momentum maintained.

“Specifically we urge them to finalise the organisational arrangements to support the commitments that they made in [talks in] Doha and to begin influencing events on the ground in Syria,” she said.

“As the Syrian opposition takes these steps, and demonstrates its effectiveness in advancing the case of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Syria, we will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the Syrian people.

“We want to see the steps taken that have been promised and we stand ready to assist this new opposition in standing up for itself and representing the Syrian people to the regime and the international community.”

The diverse forces involved in the Syrian opposition coalition agreed on Sunday to unify their fighting forces under a supreme military council and to set up a national judicial commission for rebel-held areas in Syria.

The move came after talks in Doha. Washington had pushed the Syrian National Council to broaden its membership, saying it was not representative of all the groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.