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US to Increase Aid for Syrian Conflict Victims

by VOA News November 14, 2012

The United States says it is providing $30 million in extra humanitarian aid for those affected by the Syrian conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the move in Australia Wednesday while visiting for annual security talks with the American ally. She said the aid would help provide food to hungry people inside Syria along with Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

She also urged the Syrian opposition to support the commitments it made recently in Doha and start influencing events on the ground.

"So, good beginning, highly welcomed by us and others, and we want to see the steps taken that have been promised. And we stand ready to assist this new opposition in standing itself up and representing the Syrian people to the regime and the international community," Clinton said.

Clinton's announcement comes as Japan's Ministry for Foreign Affairs said the fifth meeting of the Friends of the Syria will be held on November 30 in Tokyo. Japan will chair the meeting.

Syrian opposition

On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said France officially has recognized the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition and could consider arming the rebels. It is the first European country to do so. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council recognized the rebel group Monday.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the coalition a legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But he said the United States wants to see how it organizes itself and whether it proves to also be an effective representative.

Other European nations and the Arab League have also said they support the new coalition, but are not ready to give full recognition.

The United States and Europe have been reluctant to arm Syrian rebels, saying the rebels have been too disorganized. They also fear that weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic militants.



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