U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who recently met with Syrian refugees in Jordan, released the following statement on the announcement that the United States will, for the first time, provide direct assistance to the Syrian opposition, including non-lethal supplies like food and medicine:
"As the Syrian people continue to fight for democracy, human rights and freedom, President Bashar al-Assad has ordered increasingly horrific attacks on his own people and remains on the wrong side of history as he desperately clings to power in the midst of a civil war and in a country on the precipice of change.
"I welcome Secretary Kerry's announcement of additional aid and direct, non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition. Just last month, I was part of a bipartisan group of Senators who travelled to the region and met with Syrians who were forced to flee their country for refugee camps. They told us in plain and direct terms that the United States was not doing enough to protect civilians and provide aid, and the humanitarian assistance we were providing was not getting to the people who needed it.
"I hope direct aid will do more to demonstrate that the American people stand with the Syrian people as they fight for their right to live in peace and security. The United States should do everything in our power to encourage an outcome to this conflict that protects the Syrian people from the unconscionable violence perpetrated by the Assad regime, stabilizes the region and provides humanitarian assistance, and promotes American values of democracy, human rights, justice and peace."