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US doubles aid to Syrian rebels, who want more

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group  during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group  during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo)

    Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo)

    Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.  The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.  (AP Photo)

    Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.  The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.  (AP Photo)

    Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and members of the Friends of Syria group are seen during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, rear center, and some of the Friends of Syria group during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group  during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and some of the Friends of Syria group  during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
  • Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo)
  • Turks set on fire a NATO flag as they protest against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the "Friends of Syria" group as it met in Istanbul, Turkey,  Saturday, April 20, 2013. Kerry is expected to announce a significant expansion of non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. AP Photo)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace early Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime. (AP Photo)
  • Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.  The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.  (AP Photo)
  • Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after a "Friends of Syria" group meeting at the Adile Sultan Palace on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey.  The United States said Sunday that it will double its non-lethal assistance to Syria's opposition as the rebels' top supporters vowed to enhance and expand their backing of the two-year battle to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.  (AP Photo)

Yet the pledge fell far short of what the opposition had made clear it wanted: weapons and direct military intervention to stop the violence that has killed more than 70,000 people. The Syrian National Coalition had sought drone strikes on sites from which the regime has fired missiles, the imposition of no-fly zones and protected humanitarian corridors to ensure the safety of civilians.

Instead, the Obama administration’s pledged to provide an additional $123 million in aid, which may include for the first time armored vehicles, body armor, night vision goggles and other defensive military supplies.

It was the only tangible, public offer of new international support as the foreign ministers of the 11 main countries supporting the opposition met in a marathon session in Istanbul.

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