Britain and the United States say they will provide more assistance to the armed groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We must significantly increase support for the Syrian opposition. We are preparing to do just that,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Monday. And Kerry agreed with Hague.
Syrian opposition groups recently expressed frustration at not receiving enough assistance from their foreign backers.
“I am very sensitive to that frustration,” said Kerry, adding that as a US senator he had pushed the US administration to consider providing military aid to the Syrian militants.
The US and its Western allies, as well as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, claim that they want to see the Syria crisis end, but at the same time they continue to arm and fund the militants.
Later in the day, members of the Syrian opposition said they would attend the so-called Friends of Syria conference in Rome on Thursday.
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the president of the so-called National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, had said earlier that he would boycott the 11-nation meeting.
However, in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Monday, Khatib said he changed his mind after Kerry and Hague promised specific aid to his group.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence, and several international human rights organizations say the foreign-sponsored militants have committed war crimes.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.