Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US denies Kerry said Syria policy failing

04 February 2014, 09:56

Washington - The US administration stood by its policy on Syria on Monday, denying that Secretary of State John Kerry had called for a change of strategy and the arming of opposition rebels.

As January marked the deadliest month in the conflict with almost 6 000 killed, some US media claimed the top diplomat had said Washington's policy was failing.

The reports, quoting influential Republican senators, said Kerry made the remarks at a meeting on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich.

"No one in the administration thinks we're doing enough until the humanitarian crisis has been solved and the civil war has ended," said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

She told reporters she had taken part in the hour-long meeting with US lawmakers in the German city, but insisted that "at no point did [Kerry] state what I think was quoted, that the process had failed".

"They did have a discussion about a range of options that the administration has always had at its disposal," she added.

Non-lethal support

The meeting was more of a "listening session... than it was a briefing session" by Kerry "because he was hearing from... probably about 20 members, about what they would like to do," Psaki said.

As for arming the rebels, "at no point did he raise it, did he commit to it, did he say that it was a process being worked on, and so that's a mischaracterisation of what was said".

"Of course we need to continue to consider what more we can do. But that is not a change in strategy," she added.

"That is an acknowledgement of what we all know: that there are ongoing discussions within the administration, that we continue to work with our international partners and through interagency process on how to approach each step in this."

Despite heavy criticism from some of his key allies such as Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama has resolutely refused to provide US heavy weaponry to the opposition rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Washington has been providing non-lethal support directly to the rebel Supreme Military Council, including body armour, computers and night-vision goggles.

And US media claimed last week that some light arms were being shipped to the rebels, although that has not been confirmed.

Bloodiest month

Three years into the war, millions have been driven from their homes, and fighting, complicated by increasing militant groups on the ground, is largely at a stalemate.

According to Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Kerry admitted in Munich that "we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy," Graham was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

But the White House hit back this was wishful thinking "that reflects how Senator Graham and Senator McCain view our policy, not how Secretary Kerry views it".

White House spokesperson Jay Carney added Obama believed "it is absolutely necessary to press for a negotiated political resolution to this conflict. There is no other alternative".

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said January was the conflict's bloodiest month so far, with 5 794 deaths recorded.

Rebel-held areas have been subjected to a punishing string of aerial raids by the army in the past three days, with at least 26 people - including 11 children - killed on Monday in attacks with explosive-packed barrel bombs in the northern city of Aleppo, according to the NGO.

More than 136 000 people have died since the conflict began with peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...