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Washington sends more aid to Syrian opposition

Washington has pledged more aid to the Syrian opposition. The United States plans to send $45 million more to Syria, but the direct military aid the rebels seek is not forthcoming.

GettyImages 152898942 Syrian rebel fighters take their position during fighting with government troops in the old city of Aleppo on September 28, 2012. Syrian rebels advanced on several fronts in their campaign to seize Aleppo, but without a significant breakthrough after hours of fierce fighting, commanders in the northern city told AFP. AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GettyImages)

Schwere Gefechte in Aleppo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the informal Friends of Syria group in New York on Friday that the United States would provide an additional $45 million (35 million euros) to the Syrian opposition.

The announcement came on day two of what the rebels have declared a "decisive battle" in Syria's largest city, Aleppo. The opposition was reportedly locked into hours of fierce fighting on Friday.

More aid on the way

The extra support from Washington will be broken into $30 million (23.3 million euros) for help getting supplies and medical services to "the people suffering under the relentless assaults," Clinton said.

The remaining $15 million (11.6 million euros) will be sent to "support Syrian civilian groups," she added.

The additional aid brings the U.S. commitment in humanitarian funding for Syria to over $130 million (101 million euros) and the non-lethal aid to opposition groups to almost $45 million (35 million euros).

"The United States is directing our efforts to support those brave Syrians who are laying the groundwork for a democratic transition from the ground up," Clinton said, pointing to the need to rebuild homes and reopen schools.

Rebels wanted more

Friday's announcement was still a far cry from the military aid the rebels have been requesting in order to set up safe havens for civilians.

Such aid would require a mandate from the U.S. Security Council. With Russia and China wielding their veto power on this matter, such a mandate is unlikely.

Western powers have said they will not supply the Syrian rebels with weapons.

The 18-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad has spiraled into civil war, claiming more than 30,000 lives.

tm/mr (AP, AFP, Reuters)