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Syrian activists get Western support

Aug. 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. and British governments are "moving cautiously" to prop up the capabilities of the Syrian opposition movement, a British consultant said.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London reports that Syrian activists are being trained by U.S. and British authorities in Turkey on ways to counter the regime in Damascus.

"We are not 'king-making' in Syria," a British consultant familiar with the program told the newspaper. "The U.K. and the U.S. are moving cautiously to help what has been developing within Syria to improve the capabilities of the opposition."

One Syrian activist described to the newspaper how she was trained to package rebel videos for broadcasting purposes.

The Telegraph reports the program is run by the U.S. State Department's Office of Syrian Opposition Support and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The consultant added that support was delivered with a lessons-learned approach.

"It's ... not Iraq or Afghanistan," he said. "There are no bundles of cash being dropped on the problem without accountability."

In mid-August, British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced the majority of a $7.8 million aid package would support the political opposition and humanitarian and medical assistance efforts in Syria.

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