The United States supports the Syrian people’s aspirations for a Syrian-led transition to a democratic, inclusive, and unified Syria. The United Nations estimates that more than 70,000 Syrians have been killed in the two years since unrest and violence began. More than 1.4 million Syrians are now registered as refugees or are awaiting registration in neighboring countries while, inside Syria, an additional 6.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Bashar al-Asad has sacrificed all legitimacy in his vicious effort to cling to power.
The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) is helping to deliver on the U.S. government’s commitment to provide transition assistance to the Syrian opposition, including for the Syrian Opposition Coalition to assist local councils and civil society to provide essential services and to extend the rule of law and enhance stability inside liberated areas of Syria.
The U.S. government’s primary goal is to promote unity among the Syrian people and accelerate a Syrian-led political transition through helping to build up a nation-wide network of ethnically and religiously diverse civilian activists and support the provision of basic services in areas where the regime has abandoned them. CSO is programming nearly $27 million in assistance to enable the opposition to build mass communications for improved internal and external communications networks and develop civilian leadership capacity in liberated areas
CSO’s efforts are part of approximately $250 million in transition assistance the U.S. government is providing to the Syrian opposition. Separately, and in addition, the U.S. has committed over $510 million in humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the conflict, on the basis of need and regardless of political affiliations.
CSO is building a network of over 3,200 Syrian activists, including representatives from over 100 opposition councils in 10 different governorates. These activists receive training in civil administration, communications, IT security, countering sectarian violence, social outreach, first aid, and crisis management.
CSO distributed over 5,000 pieces of major equipment to date via implementing partners, mostly to Aleppo, Idlib, and Deir Az Zour, including communications equipment, computers, generators, medical supplies, cameras, scanners, and printers.