AFP reports: The top US diplomat, who landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in the afternoon, also met Saudi King Abdullah a day after hosting urgent talks in Paris with the Saudi, Jordanian and UAE foreign ministers on the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria.
King Abdullah has consistently called for greater US military support for the Syrian rebels, whom the Sunni Gulf kingdom has long backed.
Following several signals in recent weeks by US President Barack Obama’s administration, the White House said Thursday it intends to “ramp up US support to the moderate Syrian opposition”.
The request is part of a $1.5-billion Regional Stabilisation Initiative to bolster stability in Syrian neighbours Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and to support communities hosting refugees.
Ahmad Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, welcomed the huge US boost to his forces, battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“The situation is very grave and there are sectarian leaders ruling the country so we have to have greater efforts on the part of the US and regional powers to address the situation in Iraq,” Jarba said.
Kerry said “the moderate opposition in Syria… has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) ISIL’s presence… not just in Syria, but also in Iraq”.
“Jarba represents a tribe that reaches right into Iraq. He knows people there, and his point of view and that of the Syrian opposition will be very important going forward.” [Continue reading…]