US announces $108 million in Syria aid as senior officials make first visit to Idlib
The United States has pledged $108 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Tuesday.
The announcement came as two senior US officials visited the war-torn northern Syrian province of Idlib, where Russian-backed Syrian regime forces has conducted a punishing campaign of airstrikes.
US representative to the UN Kelly Craft and US Special Envoy James Jeffrey met with Syrian humanitarian workers and members of the White Helmets rescue group.
Craft said during the visit that the aid package was for "the people of Syria in response to the ongoing crisis caused by Assad regime, Russian, and Iranian forces".
Damascus and Moscow are determined to regain full control of Idlib, the country's last opposition bastion, having carried out a devastating airstrike and ground campaign on the province.
On Tuesday, an airstrike by pro-regime forces killed eight civilians, including four children in Idlib city, according to opposition news sources.
More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.
Syrian and international activists have previously called for the imposition of a no-fly zone to protect civilians from Assad regime bombardment, similar to the one imposed in Libya in 2011, but this has so far been rejected by NATO countries.