UK to double aid to Syria insurgents: PM

THE UK will double the non-lethal military support for Syrian opposition rebels to help them withstand an “onslaught” from Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Prime Minister David Cameron says by AAP (Herald Sun)

Cameron, speaking in a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama at the White House, said Assad had to realise there could be no military victory for his forces.

Cameron said: “There will be no political progress unless the opposition is able to withstand the onslaught and put pressure on Assad so he knows there is no military victory.”

He said the UK would continue to press for changes to the European Union arms embargo and added: “We will double non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition in the coming year. Armoured vehicles, body armour and power generators are about to be shipped.”

Cameron said world leaders must do everything in their power to stop the bloodshed in Syria, after more than two years of conflict.

“Syria’s history is being written in the blood of her people, and it is happening on our watch. The world urgently needs to come together to bring the killing to an end,” Cameron told the joint news conference.

Downing Street confirmed that an extra STG10 million ($A15.45 million) for non-lethal military aid would be made available for Syrian rebels and STG30 million more would be ploughed into humanitarian assistance.

Cameron, who met President Vladimir Putin for talks last week, said there were still differences between the UK and Russia on Syria but insisted there was a “common interest” in achieving a stable state.

“I think both the Russian president, the American president and myself, we can all see the current trajectory of how things are going is not actually in anybody’s interest and so it is worth this major diplomatic effort to bring the parties to the table to achieve a transition at the top in Syria so we can make the change that country needs.”

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