Posted by Rafiq A. Tschannen
ROME – In a policy shift, the United States on Thursday announced plans to channel non-lethal assistance directly to Syrian rebels in the battlefield rather than through non-governmental agencies.
“The simple fact is (Syrian President Bashar) Assad cannot shoot his way out of this,” Secretary of State John Kerry said when the aid package was announced at a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Rome. “For more than a year the U.S. and our partners who have gathered here in Rome have called on Assad to heed the voice of the Syrian people and halt his war machine. Instead what we have seen is his brutality increase.”
The aid will include $60 million to assist the Syrian Opposition Coalition communities in liberated areas of Syria expand the delivery of basic goods and services, including security, sanitation and educational services.
The U.S. will also send “technical advisers” to support opposition staff in Egypt and work with the movement’s military arm to provide non-lethal support to the Free Syrian Army, including things like military rations and medical supplies to tend the sick and the wounded.