Opposition presses for weapons as Syria death toll tops 100,000

-- Syria's opposition urged the United
States to provide arms to rebel groups in a
Thursday meeting with Secretary of State
John Kerry in New York City.
"The US commitment of military support ... is
vital, but it needs to happen fast, and in a
way that allows us to defend ourselves and
protect civilians," a statement from the
Syrian National Coalition. "To deny us the
right to self-defense is to risk that the
regime will survive: thousands will be
executed, the repression will continue
without end."
The session between Kerry and coalition
President Ahmad Jarba came as the United
Nations announced more than 100,000
people have been killed in the Syrian conflict.
It occurred at the U.S. mission to the United
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called
for a peace conference to stop the violence
on both sides.
"We have to bring this to an end," Ban said
in remarks before his meeting with Kerry.
In addition to the deaths, Ban noted that
"millions of people have either been
displaced or become refugees in neighboring
A State Department official said Kerry and
Jarba agreed that a "political solution is the
best path forward" in the conflict.
"Secretary Kerry reiterated the ongoing
commitment of the United States to helping
end the bloodshed and suffering of the
Syrian people," the official said.
The conflict
Syria is wracked by a civil war in which a
government dominated by minority Alawite
Muslims is squaring off with rebels
dominated by Sunni Muslims.
This May, the United Nations
reported that more than 1.5
million had fled for other
countries because of the
violence, while 4 million more
had been displaced within
Yet many remain, whether by
choice or necessity, amid the
And -- as has happened very
day for more than two years --
more of them died Thursday.
A car bombing rocked a square
in Jaramana, which is about 5
kilometers southeast of
Damascus, according to both
opposition activists and state-
run media.
The attack left 17 dead and
tens more injured, according to
the opposition Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian state TV put the death
toll at 10, with 70 others wounded, blaming
the blast on an al Qaeda branch operating
within its borders.
Jaramana has a mostly Christian and Druze
population known for backing the regime of
President Bashar al-Assad.
The Local Coordination Committees in Syria,
a network of opposition activists, reported at
least 50 died nationwide on Thursday,
including 19 in Aleppo province and 18 in and
around the war-torn Middle Eastern nation's