US Secretary of State John Kerry will take part in an upcoming meeting of the so - called Friends of Syria group in the Turkish city of Istanbul, official sources say.
A senior US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday that, “The secretary will be attending the next core group meeting in Istanbul on Saturday the 20th. ” The official made the announcement in London where Kerry is holding talks with his counterparts from the G8 group of leading industrial states. However, he did not elaborate on the details of the forthcoming meeting in Istanbul. The United States, Britain, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are the leading members of the so - called Friends of Syria group. They held their last major conference in the Italian capital city of Rome in February. Meanwhile, another unnamed US official said Kerry also met with six leaders of Syria’s Western - backed opposition bloc on the sidelines of the G8 summit. The official added that the Syrian opposition coalition reiterated calls on Washington to supply them with arms during the meeting.
“We are always considering a variety of options. We are going to continue to aid the opposition, working with them in terms of what they need, in terms of what we ' re willing to provide, ” the official said.
The crisis in Syria topped the agenda of today's talks during the London summit. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have lost their lives in the crisis that broke out in Syria in March 2011. Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.