Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-A
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-A Reuters

A Syrian government daily accused the United States on Sunday of having "thrown oil on the fire" of the country's conflict by doubling its aid to the opposition.

"The meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' held in Istanbul yesterday has thrown oil on the fire of the Syrian conflict," said the Al-Watan daily, as reported by the AFP news agency.

The United States announced at the meeting in the Turkish city that it would double its aid to Syria's opposition, including new non-lethal military equipment, but paid no heed to calls for arms supplies or a direct intervention.

Secretary of State John Kerry said American assistance to the opposition would rise to $250 million (191 million euros).

Some of the money will be used to "provide an expanded range of support" to rebel fighters battling President Bashar al-Assad, beyond the current provisions of food rations and medical kits, "to include other types of non-lethal supplies."

However the pledge fell short of opposition demands for foreign backers to supply the rebels with arms, impose a no-fly zone and carry out air strikes on positions used by the Assad regime to launch missiles.

"The results of the meeting were known in advance with the American statements made last week on providing new aid to the opposition," Al-Watan stated.

"The statements were not surprising, given that Washington has opted since the start of the crisis to line up with armed groups by giving them political, financial and military support," it said, according to AFP. 

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