Appearing in Rome, Italy, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that the sanctions being pushed forward during this week's talks with Syrian opposition leaders will help cripple Assad.
"We’ve imposed broad sanctions on the Assad regime that dry up some of the funds that fuel his war machine," the secretary said Thursday.
Kerry defended the president's position to supply the Syrian rebels with $60 million of food and medicine. This is a promise that falls short of an earlier report that the White was considering sending direct aid, including body armor and military training, to the Syrian rebels.
The White House's new proposal was met with criticism from Syrian opposition leaders who claim that such minimal help does not compare to the military aid Assad is receiving from his allies, such as Iran and Russia.
Kerry is currently attending the international Friends of Syria conference in Rome during his first international trip as secretary of state.