Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could announce Tokyo’s intention to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian rebels at next week’s Group of Eight summit in Britain, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.
Suga said the aid, if realized, would be supplied to the Syrian people via rebels and other nongovernmental aid groups in the country fighting to topple the authoritarian regime of President Bashar Assad.
“We are thinking of limiting assistance to things that would not be converted to military use or trigger further conflicts,” Suga said. “We’re now preparing concrete measures and would like to send our message to the international community at the G-8 (meeting).”
According to media reports, the U.S. is considering supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels. More than 80,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the country’s more than 2-year-long civil war.
A government source in Tokyo, meanwhile, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Japan is preparing the humanitarian aid in coordination with the United States and Britain.
Japan already acknowledges the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, rather than the Assad regime.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. will gather at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland for the two-day G8 summit, where the Syrian civil war is likely to be one of major topics of discussion.