Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during the 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Istanbul, on April 20, 2013
Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a press conferance at the 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Istanbul, on April 20, 2013. A Syrian government daily has accused the United States of having "thrown oil on the fire" of the country's conflict by doubling its aid to the opposition. © Ozan Kose - AFP/File
Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during the 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Istanbul, on April 20, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 21, 2013

Syria accuses US of "throwing oil on the fire"

A Syrian government daily on Sunday accused the United States of having "thrown oil on the fire" of the country's conflict by doubling its aid to the opposition.

"The meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' held in Istanbul yesterday has thrown oil on the fire of the Syrian conflict," said Al-Watan.

The United States announced at the meeting in the Turkish city that it would double its aid to Syria's opposition, including with new non-lethal military equipment, but paid no heed to calls for arms supplies or a direct intervention.

Secretary of State John Kerry said US assistance to the opposition would rise to $250 million (191 million euros).

Some of the money will be used to "provide an expanded range of support" to rebel fighters battling President Bashar al-Assad, beyond the current provisions of food rations and medical kits, "to include other types of non-lethal supplies."

But the pledge fell short of opposition demands for foreign backers to supply the rebels with arms, impose a no-fly zone and carry out air strikes on positions used by the Assad regime to launch missiles.

"The results of the meeting were known in advance with the American statements made last week on providing new aid to the opposition," Al-Watan said.

"The statements were not surprising, given that Washington has opted since the start of the crisis to line up with armed groups by giving them political, financial and military support," it said.

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