AP sources: US weighs direct aid to Syrian rebels

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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 11:04 PM

PARIS (AP) — The Obama administration is for the first time considering supplying direct assistance to elements of the Free Syrian Army as they seek to ramp up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Officials in the United States and Europe said Tuesday that the administration is nearing a decision on whether to provide non-lethal assistance to carefully vetted fighters opposed to the Assad regime in addition to what it is already supplying to the political opposition.

The officials say a decision is expected by Thursday when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will attend an international conference on Syria in Rome.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the shift in strategy has not yet been finalized and still needs to be coordinated with European nations.

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