Henry Chu and Patrick J. McDonnell
February 28, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $60 million in aid to Syrian opposition forces Thursday, including food and medical support directly to armed rebels for the first time but turning aside their demand for weapons.
Kerry, on his first foreign trip as America’s top diplomat, said that the extra assistance would help “the legitimate voice of the Syrian people,” who have been trying in vain for nearly two years to topple President Bashar Assad. Kerry said Assad had “long ago lost his legitimacy…and must be out of power.”
The $60 million more than doubles the amount that the Obama administration has so far given to the political opposition in Syria, and, in a policy shift, some of the aid will be funneled directly to armed rebels for the first time.