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US prepares $130m military aid package for Syrian rebels

• Associated Press

The US readied a package Saturday of up to $130m in non-lethal military aid to Syrian opposition forces while European countries consider easing an arms embargo, moves that could further pressure the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

US secretary of state John Kerry was expected to announce the plans about the defensive military supplies at a meeting Saturday that was bringing together the Syrian opposition leadership and their main international allies.

The supplies possibly could include body armor, armored vehicles, night vision goggles and advanced communications equipment.

US officials said the details and costs were to be determined at the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss Kerry's announcement.

Kerry met with Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib before the conference began.

In the latest clashes, Syrian troops backed by pro-government gunmen battled rebels Saturday in a strategic area in Homs province near the Lebanese border, according to activists and state media in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

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