US Resumes Non-Lethal Aid to Syrian Rebel Forces


The United States is resuming non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition forces, U.S. officials announced Monday.

Authorities said equipment such as communications gear and laptops are being delivered to non-armed opposition groups only.

The aid is being sent through Turkey, and delivery is being coordinated by the Free Syrian Army.

Officials said security has been improved to ensure future deliveries reach only intended targets.

The decision comes after goods seized in December by al Qaeda-linked terrorists were returned to the Free Syrian Army's supreme military council.

Meanwhile, opposition and Syrian leaders met Monday to begin negotiations on a transitional government. 

During the meeting, which broke up after less than an hour, opposition leaders demanded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. But regime officials said that won't happen.

Although weekend talks led to an agreement over humanitarian aid, at this point, no actual progress has taken place on the ground.

"As of today… there is no progress in the humanitarian corridors," Syrian opposition spokesman Monzer Akbik said. "The city of Homs, the old city of Homs, is still under starvation siege, and there is no progress also in the releasing of the prisoners."

In the meantime, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the group in charge of ridding the county of chemical weapons, said a second batch of toxic chemicals has been removed from the country. They're set to remove all toxins by mid-2014.

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