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US sets aside ${esc.dollar}25 million for non-lethal aid to Syria rebels

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 1 Aug 2012 19:05 GMT
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The United States has set aside ${esc.dollar}25 million for aid to Syrian rebels, although the assistance remains limited to non-lethal supplies such as communications gear, the State Department said on Wednesday.

The Obama administration originally set aside ${esc.dollar}15 million to help the Syrian opposition, but some time ago added another ${esc.dollar}10 million to the amount available, department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

"The 25 million dollar number actually is the number we're working from," Ventrell told a regular daily news briefing.

"I don't have the exact number of the money that has been has been spent ... but the bottom line is we've already spent millions of dollars of this 25 million dollar pot and will continue as the requests come in," he said.

The Obama administration has said that it is stepping up its assistance to Syria's fractured opposition, but officials had not previously confirmed the additional ${esc.dollar}10 million in aid for that purpose.

A U.S. official on Wednesday said the non-lethal aid was mostly for communications equipment, including encrypted radios.

Separately, the State Department says the United States has set aside ${esc.dollar}64 million in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people, including contributions to the World Food Program, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other aid agencies. (Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Will Dunham)

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