Barack Obama
Barack ObamaAFP photo

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that the United States would increase the humanitarian aid it provides to civil war torn Syria.

In a statement on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, Obama announced more than $195 million in additional humanitarian assistance to provide life-saving food, medical care, and relief supplies for people affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.

The new contribution brings U.S. humanitarian aid to over $1 billion dollars since the Syrian crisis began, noted the statement.

“The United States remains the single-largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria. The United States is providing humanitarian aid to help 3.5 million people across all 14 governorates in Syria and continues to work through all possible channels to deliver aid to those in need in Syria, including through the United Nations, international and non-governmental organizations, and local Syrian organizations,” said the statement.

The new U.S. humanitarian assistance includes over $155 million to increase food assistance, expand life-saving emergency medical capacity, and provide additional hygiene kits, clothing, and household supplies in Syria.

U.S. assistance will also increase gender-based violence response services and referral through women’s health centers, mobile clinics, and outreach teams providing health and psychosocial services in Syria, including home-based support to vulnerable women and children.

“This new funding also includes nearly $41 million to provide food vouchers, in-kind food distributions, and ready-to-eat meals for approximately 245,000 refugees in camps and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt,” said the statement.

“The United States supports and appreciates the countries hosting the nearly 1.9 million refugees who have fled the brutal conflict in Syria and commends host-nation efforts to provide protection, assistance, and hospitality to all those fleeing violence. The United States recognizes the significant strains on host communities and the economic impact of providing refuge to such a large number of people. We call on all host governments to keep their borders open to all those still fleeing violence in Syria.”

Several months ago, Obama announced an extra $155 million dollars to aid refugees fleeing what he said was "barbarism" propagated by the Assad government against Syrians.

Meanwhile it remains unclear whether the U.S. is providing military assistance to the rebels fighting President Bashar Al-Assad.

The U.S. government confirmed back in June that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by Obama, adding that America will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response.

At the end of June it was reported that the CIA had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and would start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.