ROME — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the Obama administration will provide the Syrian opposition fighting against President Bashar Al Assad $60 million in assistance and provide food and medical supplies, the Associated Press reports.
The AP says the move marks the first time American aid, though still not military hardware, will be sent directly the rebel groups.
Kerry says that the U.S. decision is designed to increase the pressure on Assad to step down and pave the way for a democratic transition. He was speaking in Rome, where an international conference on Syria was being held.
Kerry says the aid is also intended to help the opposition govern newly liberated areas of Syria and blunt the influence of extremists.
BREAKING: Kerry says US to provide Syrian opposition with $60 million in new aid, work with rebel fighters.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 28, 2013