Obama Pledges $340 Million in Syrian Humanitarian Aid
by VOA News September 24, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will provide an additional $340 million in humanitarian aid to support those affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Addressing world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Obama also lashed out at doubters who questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus, which U.S. intelligence says killed some 1,400 people.
'It is an insult to human reason - and to the legitimacy of this institution - to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack,' he said.
The U.S. president defended his threat of force against Assad's government, calling for 'a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments.'
Earlier Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the document could mention a key Chapter VII article which allows force or sanctions only if the chemical weapons accord agreed between Russia and the United States is violated by either side in the Syrian conflict.
Ryabkov said United Nations chemical weapons investigators are expected to return to Syria on Wednesday. The U.N. team led by Ake Sellstrom completed a two-week probe in Syria earlier this month, but focused largely on a deadly attack in the Damascus suburbs.
Their original mandate was to investigate three earlier attacks, including one in March outside of Aleppo that the Syrian government and rebel fighters blamed on each other.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul told the U.N. gathering Tuesday that the global community had a responsibility not to abandon the Syrian people, calling the conflict 'a real threat to regional peace and security.'
Gul said 'any recurrence of the proxy wars of the Cold-War era will plunge Syria into further chaos.'
Syria's civil war has forced 2 million people to flee the country, with another 4.5 million people displaced within Syria. In total, the conflict has forced more than a quarter of Syria's population to leave their homes.
Most of those who have fled the country have gone to neighboring nations, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
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