Feb. 28 - Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States will send non-lethal aid directly to Syrian rebels for the first time. Deborah Gembara reports
For the U.S. --- it's a first regarding how it plans to engage with Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement at a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group in Rome. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying: ''The United States has decided that given the stakes the president will now extend food and medical supplies to the opposition including to the Syrian opposition's Supreme Military Council. So there will be direct assistance though non-lethal.'' The offer of medical aid and food rations fell far short of rebel demands for sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Kerry did underscore the U.S. position that a regime change in Damascus is critical. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying: ''So we are determined to find a better way forward that we know awaits Syria and a day that will not come as long as Assad is in power.'' Since the fighting began nearly two years ago, more than 70,000 Syrians have been killed.