[QODLink]
Middle East

Obama meets Syria opposition leader Jarba

US president meets Syrian National Coalition leader in show of support for embattled foes of President Assad.

Last updated: 14 May 2014 13:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Jarba had previously requested increased military aid to help combat Assad forces [AP]

US President Barack Obama has met Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba in a show of support for the embattled foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The meeting on Tuesday came as the US again voiced concerns that any deadly weapons provided at the request of rebels in Syria could end up in the hands of armed groups it considers extremists.

Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), also met Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice.

The White House said it condemned the Assad government's "deliberate targeting of Syrian civilians" with barrel bombs and the denial of humanitarian help in areas under siege by the Syrian army.

Spotlight
In-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria

A statement by the White House said that Jarba thanked the US for its aid to opposition rebels and its humanitarian help to Syrian refugees, which totals $1.7bn.

There was no mention in the statement of Jarba's previous request to the US for anti-aircraft weapons to combat bombing raids by Assad's forces, the AFP news agency reported.

Officials privately acknowledged that he made the request in talks with Secretary of State John Kerry last week, but they refused to tell reporters Kerry's response.

Washington is worried that such weapons could eventually end up in the hands of groups hostile to the US and its allies and could even pose a threat to commercial aircraft.

Jarba's visit came on the same day the UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, announced plans to step down from his position on May 31 after failing to broker a political solution to the conflict that has killed 150,000 people so far.

Obama has been reluctant to commit American forces to another foreign conflict, after its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

299

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.