US vows more support to oust Assad
January 23, 2014 - 6:38:56 am
MONTREUX: The United States yesterday led a fierce denunciation of the Syrian regime and vowed it would step up support for the opposition as it seeks to topple President Bashar Al Assad.
The top US diplomat, John Kerry, set the tone when he stressed before 40 nations and international organisations gathered at a landmark peace conference in Switzerland that Assad could play no part in Syria’s future leadership.
“There is no way — no way possible in the imagination — that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern,” Kerry insisted.
“One man and those who have supported him can no longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage,” said the US secretary of state.
At a later press conference in the Swiss city of Montreux, Kerry revealed that Washington and Moscow were also planning to work on other tracks to end the fighting which has left 130,000 people dead.
“There will be parallel efforts being made, even while the talks are going on, to find different pressure points and find a solution,” he told reporters from the world’s media, refusing to go into detail.
“I will just say to you that lots of different avenues will be pursued, including continued support, augmented support to the opposition.”
Washington has provided more than $1.3bn in humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, and has been supplying non-lethal materiel to the armed rebels.
But so far it has refused to directly supply weapons and machinery to the opposition forces — now fighting against both Assad and a wave of Al Qaeda extremist groups flooding into the chaos.
It remained unclear from Kerry’s remarks whether the Obama administration was now prepared to review its weapons ban.