Kerry: U.S. more confident arms flow to Syria moderates

DOHA | U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday Washington was increasingly confident that weapons being sent to the Syrian opposition by other countries were going to moderate forces.

Kerry, on his first overseas tour since taking office, told a news conference in Doha he had held talks with nations in the region about the kinds of arms being sent to the different Syrian opposition forces.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are widely believed to be providing weapons to the rebels, but the United States says it does not wish to send arms for fear they may find their way to Islamist hardliners who might then use them against Western targets.

Kerry also suggested U.S. President Barack Obama wanted to give Syrian President Bashar al-Assad another opportunity to go peacefully but may take other steps to raise pressure over time.

“We had a discussion about the types of weapons that are being transferred,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Sheikh Hammad bin Jassim al-Thani of Qatar, the last stop on a nine-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Referring to the supply of weapons, he said: “We did discuss the question of the ability to try to guarantee that it’s going to the right people and to the moderate Syrian opposition coalition and I think it’s really in the last months that that has developed as a capacity that we have greater confidence in.”

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