Kerry: Syrian Rebels ‘Deserve’ US Support

Insists Assad Isn't Willing to Negotiate, Despite Explicit Offers to Negotiate

by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2013

With his European tour continuing, Secretary of State John Kerry told students in Berlin that Syria’s rebels are entitled to the formal backing of the US government, insisting they are determined to impose a regime change.

Kerry defended this by insisting that Assad “refuses to negotiate a political solution,” going on to say that he “isn’t going to come and negotiate and he’s just going to kill his people.” He suggested more US support would be offered at tomorrow’s Syrian rebel conference in Rome.

The admonishments of Assad are particularly oddly timed because the Assad government offered talks only yesterday, with the rebels angrily rejecting the offer, as they have several other offers in the past.

Indeed, Kerry was clearly aware of this fact, because he condemned the Assad government for offering the negotiations in the first place, insisting that offers weren’t to be taken seriously. Perhaps the biggest problem with the offer is that it really undercut Kerry’s talking points for today’s Berlin speech, but that doesn’t appear to have altered its content.

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