The Straits Times
Published on Jan 30, 2013

Obama giving $191m in humanitarian aid to Syrians


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the United States would boost humanitarian aid to Syria and urged other nations to do more to help the United Nations, which is struggling to assist some 4 million people in the war-torn country and more than 700,000 who have fled it.

Mr Obama said he authorised an additional US$155 million (S$191 million) in aid for food, medical care and clothing for Syrians and refugees, bringing the US total to US$365 million. He issued a video statement on with Arabic subtitles speaking directly to Syrians.

Mr Obama has been criticised for not doing more to aid rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even as the humanitarian cost of the conflict has skyrocketed and Western nations worry about the growing clout of Islamic militants among the rebels.

Mr Obama has said he has wrestled with whether a US military intervention in Syria's 22-month-old civil war would help resolve the bloody conflict or make things worse.