Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the Virtual Fifth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 30, 2021


This month we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Syrian uprising. For a full decade, the Syrian people have endured the unimaginable: violent suppression, terrorism, and a brutal civil war.

Imagine being a 10-year-old child in Syria. One of your parents may have been killed by chemical weapons attacks, one of the 500,000 killed by Assad’s horrific war. Some of your relatives were tortured or disappeared.

You are one of 13 million Syrians that were forced to flee your home. And then flee again. And again. Maybe even a dozen times or more.

You’re 10 years old and you’ve known nothing but war.

For that child, and so many others, we must allow and empower humanitarians to do their jobs: alleviate the suffering and save people’s lives.

The United States is committed to doing our part, both to provide aid and to help address the obstacles standing in the way of humanitarian access.

After all, an average of 2.4 million Syrians per month depend on cross-border humanitarian assistance. This UN mechanism must be renewed by the Security Council in the next few months.

So today, I’m proud to announce over $596 million in new humanitarian assistance in support of vulnerable Syrians in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, from the United States.

In total, the United States has provided nearly $13 billion in aid to the Syrian people over the past decade.

And while we strive together to meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, and especially refugees, we know that assistance alone will not solve this crisis.

The Syrian people need a real, political resolution to the conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The United States will not provide reconstruction assistance absent progress on the political track.

It is important to note that human rights and humanitarian groups continue to report the vast majority of Syrians fear returning to regime-held areas. They would face arbitrary detention, torture, or even death at the hands of Assad’s security forces.

So any Syrian refugee return must be voluntary, well-informed, and take place in safety and with dignity to the place of their origin or choosing.

Let me conclude by stating, unequivocally, that we remain committed to supporting the Syrian people, as well as regional countries who have taken on the burden of hosting millions of refugees.

The Syrian people deserve a real, political solution. They deserve a safe, stable, and hopeful future. As I’ve said throughout this month, the 11th anniversary cannot look like the 10th.

Thank you.