CAPITOL HILL (TRNS) — Syrian refugees who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the ongoing civil war say it’s time for the U.S. to ratchet up pressure on the regime of Bashar Assad.
“We need the suffering to end first, then comes the humanitarian aid,” said 24-year-old Amineh Sawan. “We’re human…we’re dying!”
(Click here to read more about Sawan).
Fighting back tears, Sawan and her cousins, Heba Sawan and Anas el-Dabas, listened as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) recounted the various atrocities committed by Assad forces against innocent citizens who have been caught in the middle of the two-plus-year struggle that has claimed roughly 130,000 lives.
Nine million Syrians have been forced from their homes, and around two million children have starved as a result of the war, which has seen the Assad government use chemical weapons against its own people.
The U.S. has so far provided more aid to Syria than any other country, but Kaine urged the Obama administration to pressure key countries at the United Nations into ramping up their humanitarian assistance.
“I believe this is absolutely critical as a test of whether other nations take this seriously,” he said.
American aid to Syrian civilians and opposition groups has come in the form of non-lethal assistance, but Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN earlier this week that President Obama “is always reevaluating this.”
“I assure you,” Kerry said, “the United States is doing a great deal.”
Policymakers in Washington are extremely agitated that Assad’s government has only turned over around five percent of its chemical weapons stockpile. Nonetheless, the White House says that it isn’t concerned that Syria will ultimately refuse to relinquish its complete chemical arsenal.