News / Middle East

White House Dismisses Reports of Aid to Syrian Rebels

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July, 31, 2012.White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July, 31, 2012.
x
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July, 31, 2012.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July, 31, 2012.
Kent Klein
WHITE HOUSE — White House officials on Thursday dismissed reports that President Barack Obama signed an order to send U.S. aid to Syrian anti-government forces. The administration announced it is sending more humanitarian aid to Syria and neighboring countries.  
 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not deny that the United States is helping the Syrian rebels.  But he told reporters that the administration’s policy of providing non-lethal assistance to the opposition has not changed.

“We do not believe that adding to the number of weapons in Syria is what is needed to help bring about a peaceful transition,” Carney said.

The Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday that Obama signed a secret order earlier this year, authorizing U.S. support for the Syrian rebels.  The story said the order allows the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the opposition depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid, with the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, says his contacts in Syria tell him there is no evidence of a surge in aid to the rebels.

“I do not really see any intensification of these efforts.  I see a lot of leaks, it seems to me, that were sort of primed to show that something is being done.  But the reality is, so far on the ground, we have not detected any real involvement by the U.S. in the ongoing military operations in the country,” Abdulhamid said.

The State Department said Wednesday that the United States has allocated $25 million for non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, much of it for communications equipment.

White House spokesman Jay Carney announced on Thursday that Obama has approved another $12 million in U.S. humanitarian aid for Syria and surrounding countries.  He said that brings the total of food and other assistance from Washington to more than $76 million.

Human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid says he expects much of the new aid to go to refugees in camps in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as to those trapped in Syria.

“But I will also imagine that they will try to send some aid to local communities who are cut off and have been cut off because of the fighting, and where food supplies are getting more and more scarce,” Abdulhamid said.

The United Nations estimates that more than three million people in Syria will need humanitarian aid in the coming year, and that tens of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries.

The White House announcement came on the same day that Kofi Annan announced plans to step down as the United Nations and Arab League peace envoy in Syria.  The former U.N. secretary-general said increased fighting and a lack of unity in the U.N. Security Council were making it more difficult for him to carry out his mission.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Annan’s departure shows that Russia and China were “on the wrong side of history” by vetoing a Security Council resolution condemning the Assad government for the violence.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs