US, Britain Yank Aid to Syrian Rebels

Meanwhile, Islamists kidnap human rights lawyer, two journalists
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2013 9:59 AM CST
US, Britain Yank Aid to Syrian Rebels
In this Sept. 19, 2013 photo, Syrian opposition fighters display the bodies of two soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad.   (AP Photo)

The US and Britain have cut off aid to Syria's opposition, after Islamist rebel groups seized bases loaded with Western-provided goods from their former Free Syrian Army colleagues. The move won't affect humanitarian aid, a US embassy spokesman tells the BBC, but rather the "non-lethal" military assistance the countries have been providing, like radios and body armor. The Islamic Front, a massive coalition of Jihad-minded groups that recently broke from the FSA, seized the facilities last week, capturing anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets among other supplies.

"We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer," said a spokesman for the FSA, which Reuters points out, desperately needs international backing to maintain its legitimacy. The move comes on the heels of two high-profile kidnappings by Islamist groups. Major Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh was abducted yesterday along with three of her colleagues, the New York Times reports, just hours after two Spanish journalists were kidnapped in a separate incident. (More Syria stories.)

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