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Syrian National Council leaders say they need to keep up public sector paychecks and food subsidies.
Syrian rebel leaders on Thursday asked for $11.5 billion to fund six months of reconstruction in Syria if president Bashar al-Assad falls, Reuters reported. The money would be used to prop up Syria's currency and pay public sector employees.
The Syrian National Council was meeting in Abu Dhabi with members of the "Friends of Syria" group, a loose affiliation of countries opposed to the regime of Assad. According to The National, more than 60 countries sent envoys.
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The meeting comes as the conflict in Syria drags into its fourteenth month. In Geneva today, a United Nations panel criticized both the Syrian government and an "increasingly militarized" rebel force for commiting crimes, though the body said the government was behind most of the killing, the Associated Press reported.
The slow pace of progress in Syria is pushing the United States toward adopting a quiet policy of vetting rebel groups for arms transfers through Gulf countries opposed to the Assad regime, according to another AP story.
Despite fears that arming rebels could backfire, the plan is called "the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation." Officials said, "it would be irresponsible not to weigh in" with the countries that are already actively arming rebel groups. The plan calls for American intelligence officials to estimate whether the arms could fall into the hands of terrorists and militant groups.
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