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US: Syrian opposition needs help

Reuters

The US will increase aid to Syrians and the Syrian opposition in an effort to speed a political transition in Syria, says a White House spokesperson.

A child holds portraits of Bachar al-Assad during a demonstration in support of Syria's president. (AFP)

 "We are constantly reviewing the nature of the assistance we provide to both the Syrian people, in form of humanitarian assistance, and to the Syrian opposition in the form of non-lethal assistance," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.

Washington has sided with the Syrian opposition in seeking the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

"We will continue to provide assistance to the Syrian people, to the Syrian opposition, we will continue to increase our assistance in the effort to bring about a post-Assad Syria," Carney said.

The Washington Post has reported that the White House was considering a shift in policy toward the nearly two-year-long conflict in Syria and may send the rebels body armor and armed vehicles, and possibly provide military training. According to the report, US officials still oppose providing arms. 

Kerry: Syria needs more help
Earlier on Wedneday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syria's opposition needs more help in its struggle against al-Assad and Washington wants to find ways to speed up a political transition.

Kerry, who met his French counterpart in Paris ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting in Rome on Thursday, did not say whether Washington was planning additional aid.

"We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the transition the Syrian people seek and deserve," Kerry told a news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

He said Washington wanted the Syrian opposition's advice on how to speed up a political solution which would be the best way to end the bloodshed and protect the interests of the Syrian people.

"That may require us to change al-Assad's current calculation," he said. "He needs to know he cannot shoot his way out of this, so we need to convince him of that and I think the opposition needs more help in order to be able to do that. And we are working together to have a united position."  – Reuters

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