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US announces $70 million in new, non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says it wants to boost non-lethal assistance to moderate Syrian opposition groups.

In an announcement coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict, the State Department said Friday it is working with Congress to provide an additional $70 million in aid to opposition groups. That amount includes $25 million for vetted members of the armed opposition to enhance their ability to defend themselves. The department did elaborate on the exact nature of that support, which in the past has included vehicles, medical kits and food.

Another $30 million will go to local authorities in rebel-held areas. The rest is for training to secure communications and collect evidence of possible war crimes.

If Congress approves it, the new aid will bring to nearly $400 million the amount the U.S. has given the opposition since 2011.

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