`US quietly aiding Syrians in worn-torn country`

The United States is aiding Syrians in rebel-held areas and is kept quiet about protecting aid workers and recipients.

Updated: Apr 15, 2013, 21:46 PM IST

Washington: The United States is aiding Syrians in rebel-held areas and is kept quiet about protecting aid workers and recipients.

In the heart of rebel-held territory in Syria`s northern province of Aleppo , a small group of intrepid Westerners is undertaking a mission of great stealth.

According to the Washington Post, they live anonymously in a small rural community, they travel daily in unmarked cars, braving airstrikes, shelling and the threat of kidnapping to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians - all of it paid for by the US Government.

However, the operation is so secretive is that almost none of the Syrians who receive the help are aware of its American origins.

Out of concern for the safety of the recipients and the delivery staff, who could be targeted by the government if their affiliation to the United States were known, the Obama administration and the aid workers have chosen not to advertise the assistance.

Meanwhile, as the death toll mounts and the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad shows no sign of giving up, anger about the perceived failure of the United States to help mounts steadily among Syrians who support the rebellion.

The unpublicized aid effort illustrates the dilemma confronting the Obama administration as it cautiously explores ways of stepping up support for the Syrian opposition.

The United States is already providing a significant component of the humanitarian aid reaching Syria. It has contributed an overall total of 385 million dollars, according to USAID officials.

According to the report, overall, international donors have matched only a third of the funds promised, and the amount remains woefully insufficient to meet the spiraling needs of a war-ravaged country whose people are killed, injured and forced to flee their homes on a daily basis, UN officials said.

The UN mission, based in Damascus, is facing difficulty accessing rebel-held areas of the country because of government-imposed restrictions and the dangers of crossing the front lines. To circumvent the shortfall, the United States has earmarked 90 million dollars of its contribution for non-governmental organizations to operate in rebel areas, making it the largest Western donor of aid to the parts of Syria that have slipped beyond government control, the report added.