Channel NewsAsia

'Friends of Syria' to extend support for Syrian opposition

Foreign ministers from 11 western and Arab nations have been meeting in London and agreed on extra support for the Syrian opposition.

LONDON: Foreign ministers from 11 western and Arab nations have been meeting in London and agreed on extra support for the Syrian opposition.

The so-called 'Friends of Syria' group was set up in response to China and Russia blocking attempts at the United Nations to reach an agreement on international action on the Syrian crisis.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted the group's strategy is unchanged, despite signs President Bashar al Assad is beginning to win the civil war in Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in London knowing the steps towards peace in Syria look harder to navigate now than they have for months.

The Friends of Syria group is desperate to find a way out of the crisis, and to find new ways of helping support the Syrian opposition.

The Friends of Syria group last met in January since the collapse of peace talks.

A series of events have also taken place -- UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has since quit, President Bashar al Assad's forces have advanced against rebels in Syria, and Assad has announced he will stand as president again next month.

But foreign ministers gathered in London insist they can make a positive impact on the crisis.

Mr Hague said: "We have also agree unanimously to take further steps together, through a coordinated strategy to increase our support for the moderate opposition, national coalition and for its supreme military council, and associated moderate armed groups."

Mr Kerry said: "We are open to anything that will get aid to the people and we are very frustrated with the current process.

"It's not verified yet, it hasn't been confirmed, but I have seen the raw data that suggests that there may have been, as France suggested, a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war. And if it has, and if it could be proven then that would be against the agreement of the chemical weapons treaty, against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to."

Events on the ground in Syria make their job harder and harder, still without support from Russia and China.

Diplomats though are refusing to accept that they are now effectively powerless, as the war and humanitarian crisis continue. 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna