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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid