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Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2013

John Kerry confirms US to give $60 Million in aid to Syrian rebels

Western powers pledged aid for Syrian rebels on Thursday but stopped short of offering them weapons, disappointing opponents of President Bashar al-Assad clamoring for more arms.

photo/FreedomHouse via Flickr public domain

photo/FreedomHouse via Flickr public domain

More than 70,000 Syrians have been killed in a fierce conflict that began with peaceful anti-Assad protests nearly two years ago.

While empathy for these fighters has grown, they are the group that rejected some peace offers at the beginning of 2013 and has been videotaped violently murdering Assad loyalists, even involving children in the practice.

Washington has given $385 million in humanitarian aid for Syria but U.S. President Barack Obama has so far refused to give arms, arguing it is difficult to prevent them from falling into the hands of militants who could use them on Western targets.

A NY Times article confirmed that weapons supplied by the US had already fallen in hands of radicals and raised questions about the US role in Libya and Egypt.

The United States said it would for the first time give non-lethal aid to the rebels and would more than double its support to Syria’s civilian opposition, casting it as a way to bolster the rebels’ popular support.

The help will include medical supplies, food for rebel fighters and $60 million to help the civil opposition provide basic services like security, education and sanitation.

Kerry said the United States would for the first time provide assistance – in the form of medical supplies and the standard U.S. military ration known as Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs – to the fighters.

“The simple fact is (Syrian President Bashar) Assad cannot shoot his way out of this,” Secretary of State John Kerry said after his first meeting with Syrian opposition leaders in Rome. “For more than a year the U.S. and our partners who have gathered here in Rome have called on Assad to heed the voice of the Syrian people and halt his war machine. Instead what we have seen is his brutality increase.”

The U.S. will also send “technical advisers” to support opposition staff in Egypt in implementing the assistance and ensure that it gets to the right people. The U.S. plan, forged with European allies, will not include weapons despite the calls of a growing number of American senators and members of the Syrian opposition.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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