Obama-Syria opposition meeting "productive," but no discussion of military aid
President Obama met with Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba Tuesday in what has been described by the media as "productive talks," according to Agence France Presse.
This is the first time that Obama has received the primary opposition leader in Washington in a move meant to show America's support for the rebels fighting against the regime.
Washington leadership has previously voiced support for the opposition with Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice most recently condemning "the Assad regime's deliberate targeting of Syrian civilians through aerial bombardments -- including the use of barrel bombs -- and the denial of food and humanitarian assistance to civilians located in areas under siege by the regime."
Washington has also provided $287 million in aid to opposition forces, as well as $1.7 billion to Syrian refugees who have been forced to leave the country due to the conflict.
However, the opposition has previously appealed to the Obama administration for greater support, particularly in terms of military aid. However, Washington has been reluctant to meet this request, saying that such support "could end up in the hands of extremists."
Jarba, in particular, previously requested anti-aircraft weaponry to combat the aforementioned regime barrel bombing attacks. However, there was no direct mention of this in Tuesday's press release from the White House.
White House spokesman Jay Carney, however, did mention earlier Tuesday that Washington was working hard to "ensure that the aid that we are providing the opposition is getting into the hands of the moderate opposition and not falling into the wrong hands."
While Washington has talked "tough" about Assad and his "lost legitimacy," The White House still remains wary of providing more military aid to the opposition despite such positive and "productive" talks between Obama and Jarba as reported this week.