US to resume nonlethal aid to Syrian rebels

Published January 27th, 2014 - 09:56 GMT
Rebels in Aleppo have been the target of regime air strikes almost daily over the past month (File Archive/AFP)
Rebels in Aleppo have been the target of regime air strikes almost daily over the past month (File Archive/AFP)

United States officials confirmed Monday that it has restarted nonlethal aid deliveries to the Syrian opposition, according to the Associated Press.


Washington had previously suspended nonlethal aid shipments over a month ago after Al Qaeda affiliated militants seized rebel supply warehouses near the Turkish border.


The new deliveries, which include communications equipment and other items, are now being sent to only non-armed opposition groups, according to the Washington officials.


The officials, who spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity, said that the previous supply suspension was "only a 'precautionary measure,'" and the new supplies would be sent to the opposition via Turkey with the coordination of the Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council.


The move is seen as a critical boost to "Syria's beleaguered rebels" in their fractured fight against the regime, and some analysts believe the U.S. is sending the aid as a reward to the opposition "for its participation in ongoing peace talks."


It could also be seen as a U.S. reward to the opposition for its participation in ongoing peace talks with President Bashar Assad's government in Geneva.


Direct nonlethal aid from Washington to armed rebels may resume soon as well, according to the U.S. officials. However, they did not indicate the status of lethal assistance deliveries.


Over 100,000 people have died in Syria's civil war over the past three years. The ongoing peace talks in Switzerland that commenced last week have made "little to no headway" according to AP, with most of the conference dialogue focused on ensuring humanitarian groups access to civilians and prisoner release negotiations.


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