`Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy and must go`

Last Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 - 08:52

Washington: Voicing its support to Syrian people, the White House said President Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy and must go, after US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Syrian opposition leaders and announced additional aid in Rome.

"Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy and must go. We stand united with the Syrian people on this, and we will continue to offer support to the Syrian opposition even as other countries choose to make it possible for Assad to continue his violent campaign against his own people," Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, told reporters.

On Thursday, Kerry announced an additional USD 60 million nonlethal support to the Syrian Opposition Coalition.

"He stood with our partners in that coalition and reaffirmed the commitment of President Obama to help the Syrian people transition to a Democratic inclusive and peaceful Syria," Carney said yesterday.

"Kerry announced today that to translate our support into tangible assistance, we will provide an additional USD 60 million in nonlethal support to the Coalition`s operational needs."

"..That comes on top of USD 50 million already provided in nonlethal assistance to the opposition, and is separate from the USD 385 million in humanitarian assistance that we have been providing to the Syrian population," he said.

The Syrian Opposition, according to the State Department, has notified the US of some very credible reporting of another massacre.

"Seventy-two bodies discovered in the city of Maalikiyah, west of the Al-Shifa, the area of Al-Shifa near Aleppo. They were identified on Wednesday evening."

"...So this is another sign of horrific violence that the opposition has reported. We continue to see Scuds in the area of Aleppo. That has not ceased, so the violence continues," State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell said.

This is the first time that the US has publicly committed itself to sending non-lethal support to Syria`s armed opposition.

"The shift is intended to empower Syria`s moderate forces, although it falls short of the weapons and equipment that Syrian rebels have requested," Elizabeth O`Bagy of the Institute for the Study of War said.

"This policy decision against providing lethal aid is largely due to concerns over the emergence of powerful Islamist brigades and extremist groups in Syria."

"..By offering support through the new military command, the US is looking to build a better relationship with Syria`s armed opposition and check the radical elements within its ranks," Elizabeth said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 - 08:52

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