WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama released an executive order Monday to officially authorize non- lethal military aid to the Syrian opposition, in order to prevent the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.
According to the order, Obama authorized the provision of defense articles and defense services to the Syrian opposition, organizations implementing U.S. aid programs and international organizations to help them prevent the use and proliferation of Syria's chemical weapons.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the U.S. government position on providing assistance to the Syrian opposition, including the military wing, remains unchanged. "We have stepped up that assistance, and we will continue to step it up," Carney said during a press briefing.
The statement came after the release of a report by the United Nations on Syria earlier Monday, which confirmed that chemical weapons were used at Ghouta, Syria, on Aug. 21 "on a relatively large scale resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children."