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US to Support Syrian White Helmets with over $4 Million

US to Support Syrian White Helmets with over $4 Million

Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 - 18:15
Members of the Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, are seen inspecting the damage at a Roman ruin site in Daraa, Syria December 23, 2017. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The White House said Tuesday US President Donald Trump has authorized $4.5 million to support Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets.

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Tuesday that Trump is urging US allies and partners to also support the Syrian Civil Defense group.

She revealed the funding, approved Monday, is part of the United States' continued support for the organization and its work in Syria.

Grisham says that during the eight-year conflict in Syria, the White Helmets have rescued more than 115,000 people. Because the group works in opposition-held areas, they are almost exclusively the only ones to offer rescue services.

The Syrian regime and Russia have accused the White Helmets of cooperating with radical insurgent groups.

The White Helmets have enjoyed backing and received finances and training from the US and other Western nations for years.

Separately, the United Nations said that nearly two weeks after Turkey launched its offensive in northeast Syria more than 176,000 people have been displaced, including nearly 80,000 children, and "critical infrastructure has been damaged."

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that power lines have been damaged, reportedly affecting at least four medical facilities.

He said the Alouk water station, which serves over 400,000 people in Al-Hassakeh city and surrounding displacement camps, has received temporary repairs and generators are now being used to supply safe water for the population in the area.

Dujarric told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that Imran Riza, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, said after visiting the northeast that he was grateful UN appeals for humanitarian access were successful and water was restored, "averting more serious humanitarian problems."

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