2 Apr 2012

Salaries to be paid to Syrian rebel fighters

10:46 pm on 2 April 2012

Syria's opposition National Council has announced rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad inside Syria will be paid salaries.

The announcement was made after a Friends of Syria conference in Turkey that recognised the council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The BBC reports that money will also be given to soldiers who defect from the government's army.

The Friends of Syria group now comprises close to half the membership of the United Nations and hopes the sheer weight of numbers will keep the diplomatic pressure on Mr Assad and eventually persuade his allies, Russia and Iran, to abandon him.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference she believes Syria's opposition is gaining intensity.

She says Mr Assad can either permit his country to descend into civil war or "make a different set of decisions".