'Friends of Syria' agree to support Assad opposition

The "Friends of Syria", an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has agreed to increase support for the moderate Syrian opposition.

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Hague: 'We will take further steps' to help Syria opposition

Rebel fighters take up positions at a trench in the village of Aziza, in the southern countryside of Aleppo. Credit: Reuters\Abdalrhman Ismail

The "Friends of Syria" group of 11 foreign ministers from Western and Arab countries who oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, has agreed to "ramp up" support for moderate opposition groups in the country, British Foreign Minister William Hague has said.

"We've also agreed unanimously to take further steps together through a coordinated strategy to increase our support for the moderate opposition, the national coalition and for its supreme military council and associated moderate armed groups," Mr Hague said.

Kerry 'has seen evidence' of chlorine weapon use

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his news conference after the "Friends of Syria" meeting at the Foreign Office in London. Credit: Reuters

The US Secretary of State has claimed to have seen "raw data" suggesting that Assad's regime has used chlorine gas in attacks in rebel-held regions of Syria, according to Reuters. Although he also said that the data hadn't yet been fully verified.

Kerry, speaking in London, said the United States had agreed with its allies to ramp up support for the Syrian opposition but declined to say whether that would include arming them.


Syrian elections a 'grotesque parody of democracy'

Foreign leaders will discuss the Syrian conflict in London today. The Foreign Office says "now is the right time" for those who support a democratic future for Syria to come together.

This meeting comes at a time of widespread indiscriminate regime violence against civilians, plans to hold elections which will be a grotesque parody of democracy, and the regime's complete failure to provide humanitarian access.

Now is the right time for those countries who support a democratic future for Syria, free from Assad, to come together to do discuss how we press forward with this aim.

– Foreign Office Spokesperson

The so-called "London 11" is made up of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Foreign ministers to meet to discuss Syria conflict

John Kerry and William Hague will be among 11 Western and Arab powers meeting in London today to discuss ways to "significantly step up" support for the Syrian opposition.

The three-year conflict in Syria has claimed at least 150,000 lives. Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Mounzer

The lack of progress in ending the brutal three-year conflict that has killed at least 150,000 was underlined this week by the announcement of the resignation of the United Nations/Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the "hopelessly divided" international community was in part to blame for leaving Mr Brahimi battling "almost impossible odds" in brokering a deal between the regime of Bashar Assad and increasingly fractured rebel elements.

Efforts to reconvene peace talks were dealt a massive blow when Assad announced elections for June 3.

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