US officials: More nonlethal aid to Syrian rebels

Associated Press + More

By LARA JAKES and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. prepares to provide far more nonlethal aid to opposition forces in Syria, the regime of President Bashar Assad faces a new threat from European nations that could determine whether a stronger international intervention might be attempted.

The European Union arms embargo may be allowed to expire at the end of May or modified to only block weapons that are headed to Assad's government. Either course could be only steps away from supplying the rebels with arms.

Assad's reaction to the increase in pressure would be tested and might lead to stronger international action in the effort to persuade him to step down.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected on Saturday to announce plans to give opposition forces up to $130 million in defensive military supplies.

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