News / Middle East

    Donors to Increase Humanitarian Aid for Syria

    Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah (C), U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah (R) attend the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Ku
    Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah (C), U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah (R) attend the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Ku
    International donors met in Kuwait City Wednesday to make pledges of new funding to address the humanitarian needs of Syria's civil war.
     
    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that more than nine million Syrians urgently need humanitarian assistance, nearly half of them children.
     
    “Military attacks continue to target schools, health care facilities, and residential areas. Syria once had a strong health infrastructure. Now two out of five hospitals, 40 percent, no longer function,” said Ban.
     
    In its largest ever combined humanitarian appeal, the United Nations is asking for $6.5 billion through the end of this year for food, water, medical care, and shelter. $2.4 billion have already been pledged.

    New Humanitarian Aid Pledges for Syria

    Kuwait - $500 million
    Saudi Arabia - $60 million
    Qatar -  $60 million
    US - $380 million
    EU - $225 million
    Norway -  $75 million
    Britain - $164 million

    Pledges made at the donors' conference in Kuwait on Jan. 15, 2014.
    U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said that both government troops and the armed opposition are besieging civilians inside Syria.
     
    “The very fabric of society has unraveled and sectarianism has taken hold. Siege has become a weapon of war with thousands of people blockaded in their communities, running out of supplies, and unable to get basic services,” said Amos.
     
    The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, opened the conference with a pledge of $500 million. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced $380 million in additional assistance, bringing Washington's humanitarian total since the crisis began to more than $1.7 billion for displaced civilians inside Syria as well as for refugees and host communities in neighboring countries.
     
    “The humanitarian situation in Syria is an outrage that should offend every reasonable conscience. And the anguish of the Syrian people demands our collective action,” said Kerry.
     
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
    x
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
    More than $177 million in new U.S. assistance for emergency medical care, shelter, and sanitation inside Syria includes counseling and protection programs for vulnerable groups such as women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
     
    However, it is the humanitarian funding for Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt that reflects Washington's broader concerns. Kerry said the strains on nations hosting Syrian refugees risks creating greater instability throughout the region.
     
    U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann said it is a breakdown challenging security in every direction.
     
    “What originated in Syria as a result of the collapse of state authority is in fact producing the conditions for a broader cascade of state collapse in neighboring countries. And so what we're looking at is the possibility in which the entire state order in the Levant could be coming unglued in ways that could produce many, many years of instability,” said Heydemann, referring to the nations in the eastern Mediterranean region.

    Syrian Refugees by Country

    • Lebanon: 868,970
    • Jordan: 582,166
    • Turkey: 571,513
    • Iraq: 212,918
    • Egypt: 132,383

    Source: UNHCR
    With Syrian peace talks planned to be held in Switzerland next week, Kerry said there must be a political solution to prevent the creation of more refugees. He told reporters on this trip, "There's a certain endlessness to this notion that we’re going to keep upping our contribution to more millions of people who have been displaced.”
     
    Kerry also pointed out that Washington is not looking for a policy of simply increased assistance to refugees; the goal is a policy that saves Syria and allows refugees to return home and rebuild their lives.

    • Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Saif al-Umayyad brigade prepare rockets to be launched towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Jan. 16, 2014.
    • Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.
    • Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 15, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters walk at the Tameko pharmaceutical factory after the FSA claimed to have taken control of the factory, in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
    • A girl carries her belongings as she walks on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, Jan. 14, 2014.
    • This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to female preachers from mosques in Damascus and its countryside and educators of religious high schools and institutes in Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
    • Syrian refugees wait to enter Turkey on the Syrian-Turkish border in Shamm Alqrain village, Jan. 13, 2014.
    • Smoke rises from what activists said were explosive barrels thrown from helicopters on Daria outside Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014.
    • Damaged buildings are pictured in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 12, 2014.
    • Residents inspect the damage caused by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant suicide bombers at the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters in Aleppo, Jan. 12, 2014.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora