Amid criticism that the administration isn't moving aggressively to stem the crisis in Syria, the White House today announced $155 million in additional humanitarian assistance, with President Obama taping a video message -- with Arabic subtitles -- aimed at the Syrian people.
"The relief we send doesn't say 'Made in America,' but make no mistake—our aid reflects the commitment of the American people," Obama said in a statement. "American aid means food and clean water for millions of Syrians. American aid means medicine and treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients in Damascus, Dar'a and Homs. It means immunizations for 1 million Syrian children. American aid means winter supplies for more than half a million people in Aleppo, Homs and Dayr az Zawr. And we're working with allies and partners so that this aid reaches those in need."
The commitment brings the U.S. total humanitarian aid to Syria to $365 million—making it the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, Obama said. The United Nations has set a target of raising $1.5 billion over the next six months to help people inside Syria and some 700,000 who have fled the war to neighboring countries and North Africa, aid groups say.