William Hague set to pledge 'non-lethal' military support to Syrian opposition at Rome conference

Meet follows change in sanctions to allow supply of armoured cars and body armour

William Hague is due to meet members of the Syrian opposition this morning ahead of an international conference in which rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime are expected to be assured of 'non-lethal' military support.

Although the European Union refused to lift a ban on supplies of weapons to the revolutionaries, the British foreign secretary had succeeded in changing the sanction regulations on Syria to allow the options of training the fighters and sending them support including armoured cars and body armour.

John Kerry, the newly appointed US Secretary of State, held talks with the leader of the opposition National Coalition, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, who had previously threatened to boycott the talks in protest against Western inaction in the face of murderous attacks by regime forces.

Mr Kerry is also expected to promise  ‘non-lethal’ military aid to the rebels. President Barack Obama had vetoed the plans of the Secretary of State’s predecessor, Hilary Clinton, and former US defence secretary Leon Panetta to send arms because they may fall into the hands of Islamist extremists.

However, the Syrian opposition stressed that offensive weapons were necessary to combat the onslaught by regime forces. Riad Seif, one of its leaders, claimed that confidential “special meetings” will be held on the issue of military support. He said “ We expect to receive political, humanitarian and qualitative military support”.

The Rome meeting comes two days before the opposition holds elections in Istanbul to elect a prime minister and a cabinet to administer parts of the country which the rebels have seized from the regime’s control.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty