West pledges political, material support for Syrian rebels

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
February 28, 2013 13:57

'Friends of Syria' diplomatic group, comprised of Western, Arab governments vow to assist Syrian opposition as "sole legitimate representative" of the population; call for immediate halt to arms supplies to Assad's regime.

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Free Syria Army fighters in Saraqeb [file photo]

Free Syria Army fighters in Saraqeb 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS / Handout)

ROME - Western and Arab governments on Thursday pledged more political and material support for the civilian Syrian opposition and called for an immediate halt to arms supplies to the Assad government.



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A final statement after a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" diplomatic group in Rome added: "The regime must immediately stop the indiscriminate bombardment against populated areas which are crimes against humanity and cannot remain unpunished".

It added: "The ministers pledged more political and material support to the (Syrian National) coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and to get more concrete assistance (into) Syria." They gave no detail of what kind of support would be supplied.

The United States plans for the first time to provide non-lethal aid, including food rations and medical supplies, to opposition fighters battling the Syrian government and it will more than double aid to the civilian opposition, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

Speaking after talks with the Syrian opposition and mainly European and Arab countries supporting them, Kerry said that the United States would give the civilian opposition an additional $60 million to help them provide security.


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