In a video released by the White House Tuesday, Obama renewed the U.S. condemnation of Syrian regime forces’ atrocities, saying: “For nearly two years, the Assad regime has waged a brutal war against the Syrian people—murdering innocent men, women and children, in their homes, in bread lines, and at universities.
Obama said the latest aid package reflects America’s commitment and support for the Syrian people and made it clear the aid was humanitarian in nature.
“The relief we send doesn’t say “Made in America,” but make no mistake—our aid reflects the commitment of the American people. 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,” Obama said.
Obama's aid announcement came ahead of a donor's conference in Kuwait on Wednesday aiming to raise $1.5 billion for around five million Syrians facing hardships from their country's 22-month conflict.
About 77 local, regional and international charity organizations are expected to take part in the conference. The conference will also be attended by Assad’s ally Iran.
The funds are needed to finance a major U.N. humanitarian mission inside Syria and to provide aid for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
The U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday that there has been a steep rise in the number of Syrian refugees during the past few weeks and that their number has surpassed 700,000.
U.N. humanitarian operations director John Ging warned that the United Nations will be forced to cut already reduced food rations to hundreds of thousands of Syrians unless a huge cash injection is found.
The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's uprising, which began with peaceful protests in March 2011 but morphed into an armed insurgency after a harsh regime crackdown.