(TheBlaze/AP) — President Barack Obama authorized an additional $155 million in humanitarian aid for the Syrian people Tuesday, as his administration grapples for a way to stem the violence without direct U.S. military involvement.
Obama announced the additional funding Tuesday in a video aimed at the Syrian people.
“The relief we send doesn’t say ‘Made in America,’ but make no mistake – our aid reflects the commitment of the American people,” Obama said in the video, which was posted on the White House website.
The fresh funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian aid to Syria over the past two years to $365 million, according to the White House. Officials said the money is being used to immunize one million Syrian children, purchase winter supplies for a half million people, and help alleviate food shortages.
“We’re under no illusions; the days ahead will continue to be very difficult,” Obama said. “But what’s clear is that the regime continues to weaken and lose control of territory. The opposition continues to grow stronger. More Syrians are standing up for their dignity. The Assad regime will come to an end.”
But many are concerned that the U.S. will only replace a violent dictator with violent Shariah Law in supporting the Syrian opposition (though the current batch of funding does not go to military aid).
The U.S. has long called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power, saying the fall of his regime is inevitable.
In addition to the hundreds of millions in humanitarian aid, the White House has also ratcheted up economic sanctions on Assad’s regime and recognized the rebel-led Syrian Opposition Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
“There are transitions and transformations taking place all around the world,” Obama cautioned over the weekend on 60 Minutes. “We are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation,”
The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011, when the clashes between the Syrian government and rebel forces started. The violence has also forced millions of people from their homes, destroyed the country’s cities and created food and fuel shortages. On the day Obama’s latest aid package was announced, 65 were reportedly found bound and shot in Aleppo.
“The Syrian people will have their chance to forge their own future,” Obama said. “And they will continue to find a partner in the United States of America.”