Kerry Says U.S. 'Evaluating' Next Steps in Syria Conflict

W460

The United States is weighing up what steps to take next to try to end the conflict in Syria, new Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, adding there was "too much killing" in the 22-month war.

"There's too much killing and there's too much violence and we obviously want to try to find a way forward," Kerry said, adding: "It is a very complicated and very dangerous situation."

"We are evaluating now, we are taking a look at what steps, if any, diplomatic particularly, might be able to be taken in an effort to reduce that violence and deal with that situation."

His comments came after the White House defended its decision to reject a plan to arm the Syrian opposition, put forward last year by top members of President Barack Obama's cabinet.

Kerry said he was not aware of what decisions had been made before he took over as secretary of state a week ago, stressing he planned to go forward now.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had said during a congressional hearing on Thursday that he had backed plans to arm and train vetted rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad's forces, in an initiative also supported by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA chief David Petraeus.

So far the Obama administration has declined to provide anything other than humanitarian or non lethal aid to Syrian rebels, including communications equipment.

White House spokesman Jay Carney argued the problem was not a lack of arms in Syria, hinting rebels were getting supplies from other regional powers while Assad is helped by outsiders like Iran.

Carney said the U.S. priority was to ensure that weapons provided by Americans did not end up in the wrong hands and to create more danger for "the US, the Syrian people or for Israel."

Comments 4
Thumb jcamerican 08 February 2013, 23:32

It looks like Bashar might survive after all. They are worried about Israel, the newcomer is unknown, so better off to keep Bashar.

Thumb min-canada 09 February 2013, 01:48

Not likely. They might be looking at a way to intervene directly.

Thumb mckinl 09 February 2013, 02:03

Just maybe the US should tell the GCC countries to stop supporting and begin withdrawing the islamists they sent there.

Thumb rover98 09 February 2013, 10:56

Assad is finished from day one and thank god the Americans didn't intervene as the price would have to be paid down the line.