Kerry Says U.S. Aid to FSA May be Resumed 'Very Quickly'

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Syria has become a "huge sectarian mess" with rebel infighting and al-Qaida's growing strength complicating the U.S. search for a political settlement of the conflict, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Sunday.

Kerry said Washington was relying on diplomacy to make an impact on the situation, citing plans for a peace conference next month in Geneva and efforts underway to eliminate the Syrian regime's chemical weapons.

"No one really wants to go to war in Syria because it's a huge sectarian, you know, mess, with all kinds of implications," he said in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

"So you have to work with the tools that you have that are permissible. And that's exactly what we're doing, trying to make the most of the diplomatic tools available in order to be able to have an impact," he said.

Kerry acknowledged that in-fighting among the Syrian opposition and rebel groups had left a void that is being filled by extremists and that entire sections of Syria are now safe havens for al-Qaida.

"Yes, it's absolutely true. Al-Qaida has greater clout there than it had before and it's an increasing threat. And it's a threat we're going to have to confront," he said.

But he added that the U.S. Congress was reluctant to significantly fund the moderate opposition, and Americans do not want to get involved in another war.

The infighting exploded into full view earlier this month when a hardline Islamist rebel faction, the Islamic Front, seized a border crossing and a weapons warehouse from the Free Syrian Army near the Turkish border last week.

The United States responded by suspending its non-lethal aid to the rebels while it assessed the situation.

Kerry said he thought the aid to moderate rebel factions could be resumed "very quickly."

"But I think people want to be careful, have the meetings that we need to have and make certain we can proceed forward thoughtfully. Nobody wants to just build a warehouse up again and have it taken over again," he said.

"But look, this is complicated," he said. "This isn't easy."

Comments 4
Thumb kanaandian 15 December 2013, 20:37

it seems that the radical muslim side (moderates are also extremists to me in syria, as this garbage includes the ikhwan generally), has the upper hand because they are most supported by those who oppose assad. if not, how else did they do it? yes, saudi arabia's terrorist funding does indeed have a long arm, but still, the people must have received them well.

Thumb cedars2 15 December 2013, 21:50

Sunni, shiaa, christian, druze.... what century are we living in?

Thumb cedre 15 December 2013, 23:11

Kiri, do u not understand that syrians don't want ur non lethal aid, i.e. noodle pots and microwavable stuff. They know u send them to be able to say we aid the rebels...

Default-user-icon Isbir (Guest) 16 December 2013, 09:27

Too late to do anything I guess... The wounds are very deep and it will be very hard to reconstitute a plausible `modus vivendi´ even after the halt of the warring factions