US: Hezbollah Is Helping Syria

White House announces more sanctions, but avoids military intervention
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
A Syrian man chants slogans during the funeral of a rebel killed in Aleppo.   (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

(Newser) – Bashar al-Assad's pariah-state world tour rolls on: Not content with getting support from Iran, Syria is now getting help from Hezbollah, or so the White House charged yesterday, reports the Washington Post. "It’s safe to say that Hezbollah is playing a critical role in advising the Syrian government and its personnel in how to prosecute a counterinsurgency," said Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator.

The Obama administration also announced additional sanctions against Syria and Hezbollah, as well as $5.5 million in additional aid for Syrian refugees, albeit only humanitarian. But as Hezbollah is already heavily sanctioned, thanks to its being declared a "global terrorist" group in 1995, the new measures are mostly symbolic. The White House continues to rule out direct military involvement, but Hillary Clinton is to meet with Syrian rebel leaders in Turkey today, following a 10-day trip across Africa. (Read more Syria stories.)

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