US to provide $720 million Syria aid, $108 million for South Sudan

Smoke billows following a reported Russian airstrike on the western outskirts of the mostly rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, on September 20, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 24 September 2020

US to provide $720 million Syria aid, $108 million for South Sudan

  • A crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to civil war, with Iran and Russia backing the government
  • In July, the United States imposed new sanctions aimed at cutting off funds to Assad

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Thursday it would provide more than $720 million in humanitarian assistance for the response to the crisis in Syria and nearly $108 million for South Sudan.
Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun made the announcement on Syria at an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. He said the money would go "both for Syrians inside the country and for those in desperate need across the region."
At the same event, Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa announced nearly $108 million for the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
Biegun said the additional funds for Syria would bring total US support since the start of the crisis there to more than $12 billion.
A crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on protesters in 2011 led to civil war, with Iran and Russia backing the government and Washington supporting the opposition. Millions have fled Syria and millions have been internally displaced.
In July, the United States imposed new sanctions aimed at cutting off funds to Assad.

Syrian authorities blame Western sanctions for civilian hardship in the country, where a collapse of the currency has led to soaring prices and people struggling to afford food and basic supplies.
Washington says its sanctions are not intended to harm the people and do not target humanitarian assistance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said heavy rains, fighting between armed groups, food insecurity, a deteriorating economic situation, and the COVID-19 pandemic had compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
He said the funds for South Sudan would go to help South Sudanese in the country and in neighboring states.
In 2018, South Sudan formally ended five years of civil war that killed an estimated 400,000 people, caused a famine and created a massive refugee crisis, but efforts to conclude a peace process have stalled.


Algeria president to return ‘within days’ from German hospital

Updated 20 min 23 sec ago

Algeria president to return ‘within days’ from German hospital

  • The presidency said Tebboune had left the hospital and was having a ‘period of convalescence’ as recommended by his medical team
  • Tebboune, who is 75 and a heavy smoker, was admitted to hospital in Germany on October 28 to undergo ‘in-depth medical examinations’

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is to return home within days after a month of hospitalization in Germany with coronavirus, his office said Monday.
“The president of the republic assures the Algerian people about his health, that he is on the way to recovery and will be returning home in the coming days,” it said in a statement.
The presidency said Tebboune had left the hospital and was having a “period of convalescence” as recommended by his medical team. It gave no other details.
Tebboune, who is 75 and a heavy smoker, was admitted to hospital in Germany on October 28 to undergo “in-depth medical examinations,” according to the presidency.
He was transferred from a facility in the Algerian capital days after going into self-isolation following reports of novel coronavirus cases among his aides.
A day before he was transferred abroad, the presidency said Tebboune’s “state of health does not raise any concern” but a week later it announced he had contracted Covid-19.
While he was still in hospital in Germany, his office also said the president had finished his treatment and was undergoing “post-protocol medical tests.”
But updates on his medical condition have been irregular and his lengthy absence fueled speculation and fears of a political vacuum.
Monday’s statement was the first released by his office since mid-November.