From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib pose for a family photo during a meeting on Syria at Villa Madama, Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The United States is looking for more tangible ways to support Syria's rebels and bolster a fledgling political movement that is struggling to deliver basic services after nearly two years of civil war, Kerry said Wednesday. In the background at left is British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Riccardo De Luca, Associated Press - Ap

Kerry announces $60 million in new aid to Syrian opposition

  • Article by: MATTHEW LEE
  • Associated Press
  • February 28, 2013 - 6:13 AM

ROME - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration will provide the Syrian opposition with an additional $60 million in assistance and will for the first time provide non-lethal aid like food and medical supplies to rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.

Kerry announced the new support and the policy shift on Thursday in Rome, on the sidelines of an international conference on Syria. European nations are also expected to signal their intention to provide fresh assistance to the opposition.

Kerry says the U.S. decision is designed to increase the pressure on Assad to step down and pave the way for a democratic transition. He says the aid is also intended to help the opposition govern newly liberated areas of Syria and blunt the influence of extremists.

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