Hague pledges £500,000 to Syria opposition


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Britain will provide a further £500,000 to support Syria's political opposition in the face of president Bashar Assad's regime, the Foreign Secretary said.

William Hague is expected to announce the extra funding tonight during his annual speech at the Lord Mayor's Easter Banquet.

Mr Hague said the money would help "hard-pressed" opposition groups to document the regime's violations.

In his speech, he will set out that he has "agreed to provide a further half a million pounds of British support to Syria's political opposition".

"It includes agreement in principle for practical non-lethal support to them inside Syria," Mr Hague said.

"It will help hard-pressed opposition groups and brave civil society organisations inside and outside the country to document the regime's violations and gain the skills and resources they need to help build a democratic future for Syria."

The Government has, over the last eight months, given £450,000 of practical support to the Syrian opposition, including media skills training to internal activists and advice to Syrian human rights defenders.

The support is intended to aid Syria's political opposition groups to develop themselves as a credible alternative to Assad's regime and develop the necessary capability to realise an orderly transition to a more democratic Syria.

Britain sent an expert mission to the region last month to help document the atrocities that have taken place.