IN PRAYER: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad attends Eid Al Fitr prayers at al-Hamad mosque in Damascus. Picture: REUTERS
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Picture: REUTERS

SYRIA’s opposition needs more help in its struggle against President Bashar al-Assad and Washington wants to find ways to speed up a political transition in that country, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Mr Kerry, who met his French counterpart in Paris ahead of a Friends of Syria meeting in Rome on Thursday, did not say whether Washington was planning additional aid.

The Washington Post reported this week that the White House was considering a shift in policy and could send the rebels body armour and armed vehicles, and provide military training. The report said US officials still opposed providing arms.

"We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the transition the Syrian people seek and deserve," Mr Kerry told a news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

He said Washington wanted the Syrian opposition’s advice on how to speed up a political solution that would end the bloodshed and protect the interests of the Syrian people.

"He (Mr Assad) needs to know he cannot shoot his way out of this, so we need to convince him of that, and I think the opposition needs more help to do that. We are working together to have a united position," Mr Kerry said.

In Amman, a Jordanian official said there was a new surge in Syrians fleeing across the border to Jordan as fighting intensified in southern Syria.

Reuters, Sapa-AP