Iran, Syria slam US aid to Syrian rebels

Iran and Syria are blasting the United States for providing funds, food and medical supplies to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that, for the first time, the United States would provide non-lethal aid directly to anti-Assad forces.

At a joint press conference in Tehran on Saturday, the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers called the policy a "double-standard." 

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"If you really feel sorry about the ongoing situation in Syria you should force the opposition to sit at the [negotiating] table with the Syrian government and put an end to bloodshed," said the Iranian official, Ali Akbar Salehi. "Why do you encourage the opposition to continue these acts of violence?"


Assad's supporters — which include Iran and Russia — describe the uprising as a terrorist campaign.

"I do not understand how the United States can give support to groups that kill the Syrian people," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Saturday. "This is nothing but a double-standard policy ... One who seeks a political solution does not punish the Syrian people."

The new U.S. aid is designed to boost the rebels and pave the way for a peaceful political transition. It includes $60 million for opposition groups.

The Syrian civil war has killed 70,000 since it began in 2011, according to Reuters.