US gives Syrian opposition $25 mn in non-lethal aid

August 2nd, 2012 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US has provided the Syrian opposition fighting President Bashar al-Assad with $25 million of non-lethal assistance, an official here said.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Wednesday: “There is the $15 million pot of money, but in addition to that we have another $10 million that we have obligated and are spending to assist the Syrian opposition out of wider funds that we spend in the region.”

He pointed out that the sum of $25 million goes in particular to the opposition and is not part of the $64 million, which the US allocated Syria in humanitarian aid.

“There is one pot of money that is humanitarian in nature, and that is $64 million, and that is wholly separate from the non-lethal aid to the opposition. That’s the kind of humanitarian aid that we spend through the UN, through NGOs, and that’s the kind of money that helps the refugees who are flowing across the borders,” Ventrell said.

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed 14,000-20,000 lives, according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups.

The West is pushing for Assad’s ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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