New US Secretary of State John Kerry has underlined American ‘determination’ to intervene in Syria in favor of foreign - backed opposition forces seeking removal of the Damascus government.
Kerry announced Monday in a London press conference that the Obama administration has been looking at fresh ‘steps’ to expand its support for the anti - Damascus armed gangs in a bid to hasten the departure of Syrian President Bashar al - Assad and that some of the steps would be decided at a West - led anti - Assad conference in Rome on Thursday,The New York Timesreports Tuesday. “We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it’s coming, ” said Kerry in an unusually undiplomatic remarks by him, described in the report as “an unusual White House intervention over the Rome meeting. ” “And we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad, ” Kerry further boasted. The tough remarks came following a well - publicized threat by the largely Western - sponsored anti - Assad opposition to boycott the Rome conference to protest “negligible help” from pro - Israeli Western governments, the daily adds. The report further notes that Kerry and US Vice President Joseph Biden called their propped - up “leader of the Syrian opposition coalition” Moaz al - Khatib “and persuaded him to attend” the Rome meeting on Thursday. Although the well - connected US paper does not elaborate on how the two senior American officials persuaded al - Khatib to show up at the Rome event, it cites “some American officials” as saying that the new US - led Western aid to anti - Assad militants “might include night - vision equipment or armored cars. ”
“We are not coming to Rome simply to talk, ” Kerry further insisted in London. “We are coming to Rome to make a decision about next steps and perhaps even other options that may or may not be discussed further after that. ”
Kerry, however, refused to mention if the US is prepared to provide “nonlethal aid” to anti - Damascus armed groups, which have widely been documented to commit atrocities and terror acts against ordinary civilians across Syria as well as suspected pro - government activists and militias. The development comes amid another report that US - sponsored kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Jordan have joined in a major purchase and transport of heavy arms from Croatia to the anti - Damascus militant gangs in Syria, many of them reportedly al - Qaeda - affiliated. In a Tuesday report, influentialNew York Timesdaily clearly pointed to US role in the weapons deal but noted that American officials, including those at the CIA spy agency declined to comment publicly on their roles, citing “sensitivity of the[arms] shipments. ”
The report further cites a “Washington official” as saying that the flow of Croatian arms to anti - government Syrian militants followed a US visit by a “senior Croatian official” last summer, “suggesting to American officials that Croatia had many weapons available should anyone be interested in moving them to Syria’s rebels. ”
Moreover, the daily had previously reported that US officials were quite sensitive about being identified as a direct source of arms to anti-Damascus rebels in Syria -- who are widely believed to engage in terror acts, torture and massacre of civilians in sympathy with the government - but instructed its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, to ship non-American weaponry to Syrian insurgents. Meanwhile, recent reports indicated that prior to his reelection in the fall US President Barack Obama had rejected a CIA-devised plan, backed by the Pentagon and his State Department, for a US military intervention in Syria, including the arming and training of anti-Assad rebel militants. Britain was the first stop on Kerry’s nine-nation tour, focusing on the American-led agenda to undermine and topple the Syrian government, which has over the years persistently supported the regional resistance against the US-backed Israeli aggression. Kerry flew to Germany late Monday and plans to meet with top German officials as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. Syria has been embroiled in a foreign-fueled armed insurgency and unrest since 2011, leaving thousands of civilians and soldiers killed and injured while inflicting a trail of destruction across the key Middle Eastern country. Syrian US-backed neighbors of Turkey and Jordan have played major roles in allowing the transfer of weapons and foreign militia into Syria to incite the turmoil in the country