U.S. vow of non-lethal aid for Syrian rebels fails to satisfy Assad opposition

McClatchy reports: For the first time in the two-year push to topple President Bashar Assad, the United States said Thursday that it will send food and medicine directly to armed Syrian rebels.

But the announcement fell far short of rebel calls for anti-aircraft missiles and the imposition of a no-fly zone, and it left many members of the opposition dissatisfied.

Even a European agreement to amend its arms embargo to allow rebels access to non-lethal military equipment and armored vehicles on condition that they be used only to protect civilians failed to calm their anger.

“Unfortunately, as always, the West’s promises are smaller than its actions,” said Samir Nashar, a businessman from Aleppo and a founding member of the Syrian Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, the umbrella group set up last year at the United States’ behest.

“How will armored cars protect us from SCUD missiles and barrel bombs?” Nashar asked. “The U.S. said it would provide food and medicine to the revolutionaries by plane. We always hear words and no actions. I think it’s a policy aimed to manage the crisis, not to help the Free Syrian Army on the ground.” [Continue reading…]

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