The United States is considering sending direct aid to the Syrian rebels currently trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The direct aid would include non-lethal military support, including training on chemical weapons security and giving equipment like combat armor.
The US State Department has not commented on the possibility and the specifics have reportedly not yet been decided, according to CBS News.
Secretary of State John Kerry publicly endorsed the idea of aiding the rebels directly on Tuesday. He was speaking in front of a group in Berlin. He explained:
“If the president of the country decides he isn’t going to come and negotiate and he’s just going to kill his people, then you at least need to provide some support for the people who are fighting.”
The Syrian Opposition is expected to attend a conference on Thursday in Rome, along with dozens of other countries, to discuss a resolution to the Syrian conflict.
The Free Syrian Army’s commander in chief, General Salim Idris, also made a plea for financial support in a YouTube video. He asked that Syrian expatriates living other countries provide financial help to the FSA, because they are not yet able to pay the wages of rebel fighters.
Yahoo! News notes that a decision on expanding the assistance given to Assad’s opposition is expected by the time Kerry arrives at the international conference on Thursday. France, the country’s former colonial ruler, has been in support of more direct aid to the rebels.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated, “We agree all of us on the fact that Mr. Bashar al-Assad has to quit.” Unfortunately for the opposition, Assad has said he will not quit unless the Syrian people vote him out of office in the 2014 election.