News / Middle East

Kerry Promises to Double US Aid to Syrian Opposition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish FM Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish FM Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish FM Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, Turkish FM Davutoglu, center, and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib pose for photos after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.
TEXT SIZE - +
Dorian Jones
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington will double its aid to the Syrian opposition, providing $123 million in new funding.  He made the announcement after a meeting of nations that back the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's two-year-old civil war.  

In a joint statement by the 11 countries attending the Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, extreme concern was expressed over the Syria conflict and condemnation for the brutal campaign of the Syrian regime.  But U.S. Secretary State John Kerry, at a press conference Saturday, said they were all still committed to a political solution.

"I was pleased to today continue our discussion with our allies.  They share the view we should have a peaceful transition," Kerry said. "That's the first priority of everybody."

The attending countries welcomed a statement released by the Syrian opposition in which it pledged not to seek retribution in a post-Assad Syria and that a future Syria would be pluralistic and democratic.  They also expressed opposition to extremism.  There is growing concern among Western countries over the presence of al-Qaida-affiliated groups within Syrian rebels forces.

The meeting fell short of Syrian opposition calls for military intervention and the lifting of the arms embargo against it.  Several Western countries, including the United States, oppose such a move, with fears that the arms could end up in the hands of radical groups.  Secretary Kerry reiterated the U.S. commitment to non-lethal aid but left open the door to a change in policy if political efforts to end the conflict fail.
 
"But if we can’t we are all committed to continue to support the Syrian opposition, and there would have to be further announcements about the kind of support that would be in the days ahead," he said.
 
Steps were taken by the attending countries to bolster the legitimacy of the Syrian opposition.  A commitment was made that all humanitarian aid will in the future be directed through the Syrian Free Army.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid