By Jamie Crawford
Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday acknowledged concerns by some in the moderate Syrian opposition that limited U.S. military assistance had not reached them as fast as they had wanted, but he said that issue has now been resolved for the most part.
"It is accurate to say that some things have not been getting to the opposition as rapidly as one would have hoped," Kerry said during a Google + Hangout discussion. "Part of that was sort of early organizational effort, but then subsequently it took a while for Congress to approve certain components of it and finally it just takes time to start it."
Kerry said he was not able to disclose what specifically has been sent in the form of weapons by the United States to the Syrian opposition.
"A coordinated effort is being made among the many supporters of the moderate opposition to get them the assistance they need," in addition to ongoing non-lethal, medical and humanitarian assistance to the opposition Kerry said.
Congress approved a limited amount of military assistance in the form of small arms and ammunition to flow to Syrian rebels after the Obama administration asserted the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons on a small scale.
The administration is now seeking authorization from Congress for a limited military strike against the al-Assad regime following a purported chemical weapons attack last month that the administration said killed more than 1,400 people.
"I can tell you that many of the items that people complained were not getting to them are now getting to them," Kerry said.
As to whether any of that military assistance from the United States could find its way to any of the extremists groups also fighting the Syrian regime, Kerry said the United States is working to assure that does not happen.
"We have put down a firm barrier between the assistance that goes to the moderate opposition and anything to those groups," Kerry said of extremist groups in Syria. "Their numbers are not as high as some people have estimated in terms of actual real fighters on the ground and capable."