syria

Syrian rebels ‘deserve support’, says US secretary of state

by Taimur Khan, The National  |  published on March 2, 2013

Syrian rebels deserve more support if Bashar Al Assad refuses to negotiate a political solution to the civil war, the new US secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday.

“If the president of the country decides he isn’t going to come and negotiate and he’s just going to kill his people, then you at least need to provide some support for the people who are fighting,” Mr Kerry told students in Berlin.

Russia, Syria’s main ally, urged Washington yesterday to steer the Syrian opposition to hold unconditional talks with the regime.

Mr Kerry has hinted at a shift in US policy to increase support for the rebels, details of which could emerge tomorrow at the Friends of Syria conference in Rome.

“We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it’s coming,” Mr Kerry said after a meeting with the British foreign secretary William Hague at the start of his nine-country trip to Europe and the Middle East, his first as Washington’s top diplomat.

“And we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad.”

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