The US secretary of state has taken some names and quoted figures as he spoke his heart on Syria.
John Kerry told a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul that Washington would provide Syrian rebels with $123 million, and the aid is strictly meant for non-lethal objectives. He also went on to name General Salim Idris of the Turkey-based Free Syrian Army as the point man for all kinds of operations, and stressed for installing a transitional government at the earliest. The US top diplomat also underscored the importance of realising a democratic and unified post-Assad Syria, saying that it’s high time the wayward opposition came up with specifics on how to achieve those objectives.
So much so for the format of aid and assistance! But the million-dollar question is what’s next, especially keeping in mind the fact that the rebels are adamant on receiving military aid in the form of weapons and ammunition. To this day, the European Union and the United States had resisted such demands, but keeping in view the multi-purpose distribution of money it would be really a tough task to keep a tab on such activities.Kerry, as the leader of the group by virtue of his country’s clout and influence, shouldn’t restrict himself to pleasantries and rather persuade the political minds in the Friends of Syria group to get talking among themselves. That could pave the way for a negotiated settlement of the dispute. There is no harm in convincing the rebel leaders to come up with a manifesto to negotiate power transition with the regime in Damascus, and compel it to step aside. The Friends of Syria should make use of their respective governments to send across the message to President Bashar Al Assad that it’s time to talk about an exit strategy.