UNITED NATIONS – Britain and other countries backing the Syrian opposition on Wednesday, September 24, pledged fresh aid to moderate forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad as a new wave of air strikes hit Syria.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said his country would be increasing aid to 46 million pounds ($75 million) following a meeting of the Friends of Syria group at the United Nations.
About 50 countries and organizations took part in the meeting with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) including US Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Hammond said “many countries committed additional resources” during the meeting with SNC leader Hadi al-Bahra that was held as the US-led coalition launched strikes on oil refineries controlled by Islamic State fighters.
He said the British aid would deliver “practical support to opposition governance” in areas controlled by the SNC in war-torn Syria.
“Friends of Syria today expressed their support once again for the vision of a Syria free of tyranny and terrorism, enjoying democracy, pluralism under the rule of law,” Hammond told a news conference.
“Today we made our commitment to work with the moderate opposition led by the Syrian National Coalition to turn that vision into a reality.”
The Friends of Syria group reaffirmed the need for a political settlement in Syria after more than three years of civil war, but the SNC leader said the prospects for a negotiated deal were virtually nil.
“In each crisis, there is always opportunity,” Bahra told a news conference. “I think the opportunity for a political solution in the current conditions… there is none.”
Bahra suggested that Assad was hoping to seal his country’s fate through military victory. Fighting has raged in Syria has killed more than 180,000 people.
The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday, September 23, said he had “no grand projects at the moment” to revive the peace process. – Rappler.com
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