Washington revealed on Thursday plans to send more than $720 million in humanitarian assistance to Syria.
Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun made the announcement on Syria 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 noted that the additional funds for Syria would bring total US support since the start of the crisis there 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 regime and the US supporting the opposition. Millions have fled Syria and millions more have been internally displaced, Reuters reported.
In July, the US imposed new sanctions aimed at cutting off funds to Assad.
Syrian authorities blame Western sanctions for 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.
Meanwhile, Washington said its sanctions are not intended to harm the people and do not target humanitarian assistance.
At the same event, acting USAID Administrator John Barsa announced that nearly $152 million will be provided for Africa’s Sahel region and up to $108 million for South Sudan.
Barca also the new humanitarian assistance will reach Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania to help them cope with population displacements and food insecurity because of conflict in the Sahel region.
For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said heavy rains, fighting between armed groups, food insecurity, a deteriorating economic situation and the COVID-19 pandemic had compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
He said the funds for South Sudan would go to help South Sudanese in the country and in neighboring states.