Obama Announces $155 Million in Syria Aid

Photograph by Achilleas Zavallis/AFP via Getty Images

A Syrian pre-Baath flag flies over the Bab al-Salam refugee camp on the Syrian-Turkish border on Jan. 1, 2013.

The U.S. will provide $155 million in additional aid to the Syrian people, President Barack Obama announced in a video today.

American aid, which now totals $365 million over two years, helps provide food, clean water, medical treatment and winter supplies for millions suffering from Syria’s ongoing war, according to a White House statement.

“The relief we send doesn’t say ‘Made in America,’ but make no mistake: Our aid reflects the commitment of the American people,” Obama says in the video.

The new aid will include provisions of flour, wheat, blankets, boots and stoves, as well as “health care for victims of sexual violence,” Obama says in a portion of the video that he directs to Syrians. The video, which last almost three minutes, is available with or without Arabic subtitles.

The announcement came hours after American news outlets reported at least 65 people were found dead along the banks of the Quweiq River in Aleppo. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators including Sen. John McCain called for increased aid for the Syrian opposition coalition on Jan. 22 after a Senate delegation traveled to the Middle East.

Obama rebuffed criticism that the U.S. has retreated from global leadership in an interview that aired Jan. 27 on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” as Bloomberg reported. Obama said he has been careful not to “shoot from the hip” in Syria, but has helped lay the groundwork for regime changes in Libya and Egypt.

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