Secretary of State John
Kerry announced the United States will directly help the rebels who are trying
to remove Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad from power.
Kerry made the announcement at an international conference on Syria in Rome. Kerry said the move will put pressure on Syria's longtime dictator to step down.
The U.S. also hopes the aid will help the rebels counter some of the Islamic radicals who have gained power since the fighting began.
The announcement does not include military weapons the opposition says it needs to build an army.
But several European
nations are expected to provide new assistance in the coming days, possibly
including equipment like body armor and night vision goggles.
More than 70,000 Syrians have been killed in the nearly two year old war.
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