US to continue supplying assistance to Syrian opposition

Last Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 09:08

Washington: Asserting that the US will continue with its policy of providing non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, the White House said that no policy change is being contemplated at this moment.

"It is still our policy that we are providing non-lethal assistance to the opposition. We are providing substantial humanitarian aid to the Syrian people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters here on Thursday.

He said that the US is working with its allies to put pressure on the Assad regime to bring about a future that the Syrian people deserve, and that would be a future without President Assad.

The White House, he said, is constantly reviewing every possible option that could help end the violence and accelerate a political transition.

"The options we have considered include whether the provision of lethal assistance to the opposition would hasten our goal," he said.

"We are constantly evaluating the situation in Syria and evaluating our policies, as you would expect," said the White House official, adding that the US is the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Syria.

"We also must consider whether it will provoke a wider regional conflict and endanger our allies, including Israel, or create a risk that weapons will fall into the hands of extremists," said Carney.

Confirming that the US is currently helping the opposition to organise themselves, Carney said that right now, the US is focusing on efforts to help the Syrian opposition become stronger and more cohesive.

"As a result of this effort, we will continue to analyze every feasible option that would accelerate a political transition to a post-Assad Syria," Carney said. Meanwhile the US strongly condemned the bomb blast in Damascus yesterday expressing its concern over growing violence in the country.

"We strongly condemn any indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians or against diplomatic facilities, which violates international law, and we continue to emphasise that perpetrators on all sides have to be held accountable," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

"Our concern is that this is indiscriminate, that it`s against civilians, that it`s not taking us where we want to go in Syria and where the Syrian people deserve to go," she said.

Nuland underscored that it is the Assad regime that started this process of indiscriminate attacks against civilians when it first started aerial bombing on its own population, using helicopters to strafe, bomb and attack civilian neighbourhoods.

"None of this is what any of us wants to see, and certainly not what the Syrian people want to see. We want to see an end to the violence. We want to see a political transition process take place," she said.

The US also condemned the regime`s reported bombing today of Palmyra, better known in Arabic as Tadmur, the UNESCO World Heritage site.

"The Assad regime`s deliberate destruction of the ancient city, and its continued attacks on its inhabitants on the heels of its devastating attacks yesterday in Aleppo, demonstrate again the regime`s own appalling disregard for the Syrian people and for their own heritage. We call on all sides to respect Syria`s cultural heritage, its artefacts, its civilians," she said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 09:08

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