BEIRUT - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday condemned a move by the United States to give non-lethal aid to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the US move would prolong the Syrian conflict, an uprising-turned-civil war in which 70,000 people have been killed.
"If you really feel sorry about the ongoing situation in Syria you should force the opposition to sit at the negotiation table with the Syrian government and put an end to bloodshed," he said."Why do you encourage the opposition to continue these acts of violence?"
The United States said on Thursday it would for the first time give non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, describing the aid as a way to bolster the rebels' popular support.
The assistance will include medical supplies, food for rebel fighters and $60 million to help the civil opposition provide basic services like security, education and sanitation.