The United States will provide $60 million to the Syrian opposition to be used partly for food and medicines, but it will not provide weapons, John Kerry said here Thursday on his first foreign trip as secretary of state.

He made the announcement during the meeting in Rome of the so-called Friends of Syria and after talks with the leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib.

Kerry said that U.S. President Barack Obama clearly understands the need to intervene in support of the Syrian opposition, but he emphasized that this will be "direct, non-lethal aid."

The $60 million from Washington will be used to rebuild areas destroyed in bombardments, to provide services in areas liberated from control of the Bashar Assad regime and to lead Syria to the rule of law, the secretary said.

These funds, he added, will come in addition to the $54 million Washington has given the Syrian activists to facilitate communications within the country.

The Friends of Syria meeting, is also being attended by the foreign ministers of Italy, Giulio Terzi; Britain, William Hague; and Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, among others, and the participants issued another appeal to the Assad regimen to abandon violence and leave power.

Terzi announced that "a step forward" had been made at the meeting to provide greater humanitarian support and logistical items, as well as to study the possibility of creating humanitarian corridors. EFE