On official travel in the Middle East, the top U.S. aid official has unveiled a gift of relief for residents of one of the region’s poorest and most conflict-torn states: Syria.
The United States will provide $21 million in new funding to the World Food Program for the group’s operations in Syria and its neighboring countries, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah said Sept. 5 in Jordan. Some $14.3 million of this will be for food aid programs within Syria while the remaining $6.7 million will be spent on programs for refugees in nearby countries.
This announcement of new U.S. funding comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to secure “positive commitments” from Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow the aid group to scale up its work in the country. Few aid groups are able to operate freely in Syria. The international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières recently revealed it has been running a hospital there — without Syria’s authorization — since June.
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