The two-year anniversary of the Syria uprising coincides with another dark milestone: over one million refugees have fled Syria. More troubling, half of that number arrived in the last two months. The United States is the leading government donor to the crisis, having already provided nearly $385 million in humanitarian assistance. This escalating crisis, however, is challenging all of us to do more. We must ensure more life-saving assistance reaches people who need it.
The State Department continues to work overtime to ensure the Syrian people know that they are not alone and the American people stand beside them. Through frequent travel to the region, outreach to the Syrian diaspora in America, discussions with high-level leaders at home and abroad, and briefing the media, we are sending out our message of support.
Today, I participated in a Google+ Hangout about the Syrian crisis with Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Our conversation with Syria Deeply's Lara Setrakian was a frank discussion about the dangerous environment in which the international community works to get humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Even a few years ago, average citizens may not have had the opportunity to listen to this nuanced conversation.
Through these types of conversations, we want to bring the facts directly to the public. And the facts are these:
1) The United States is the leading humanitarian donor to the Syrian crisis helping people inside Syria and those who have fled as refugees to neighboring countries.
2) Some say that they do not see a high-profile, visible response to the crisis by the United States. This is not true. U.S. support underpins the most effective aid agencies, such as UNHCR, the World Food Program, and UNICEF.
3) Though the international community is responding -- it is not enough. It is time for the generous pledges made by other governments at the January 2013 Kuwait conference to become a reality. People's lives depend on it.
I will continue to use every avenue possible -- including via social media platforms -- to get the word out on the need to respond and the role the United States is playing. You, too, can help get the message out by clicking the links above, informing yourself, and sharing with others.