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US Approves Additional $123M Aid to Syria

The United States has approved providing Syrian rebels with $123m in new nonlethal aid that may include body armour and other types of supplies that have not been part of the assistance package in the past.

The additional money will double the nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition as well as increase humanitarian aid.

“This bloodshed needs to stop and that’s what brought us here tonight on Saturday and a very early Sunday morning to talk about the possibilities for peace and transition,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul.

The nonlethal aid could include armoured vehicles, night vision goggles and advanced communications equipment.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, said that while the Syrian opposition said that the increase in aid was a step forward, the nature of the support coming from the West remains “very limited”.

“The major demand by the opposition has been basically … some tactical weapons to be able to even the playing field and be able to cope with the massive weaponry that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had.”

Foreign ministers from the main supporters of the rebels trying to topple the Syrian government were meeting in Istanbul over the weekend to increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The United Nations estimates that the fighting in Syria has killed more than 70,000 people.

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