The United States has agreed to help the Syrian opposition in its fight against President Bashar al-Assad.
It follows talks in Rome between Syrian opposition leaders, the US and other members of the “Friends of Syria”. Speaking after the meeting, the US Secretary of State said Washington planned to help with non-lethal supplies.
“With our united voice today we express our commitment to helping the Syrian people in order to achieve their goal to live in a free and a safe and a just society. Their goal is our goal,” said John Kerry.
It is the first time the US has offered aid which will include food rations and medical supplies. It will also give an additional 55 million euros to the civilian opposition to help them provide security.
Many in the anti-Assad coalition have said Western reluctance to arm rebels only plays into the hands of Islamist militants now widely seen as the most effective forces in the struggle to topple Assad.
However, a European diplomat held out the prospect of possible Western military support, saying the coalition and its Western and Arab backers would meet in Istanbul next week to discuss military and humanitarian support to the rebels.