By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD and MATTHEW LEEAssociated Press
LONDON (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged members of the Syrian opposition to turn up for talks in Rome this week, insisting that more help is on the way in their fight against President Bashar Assad.
Kerry was in London for the first leg of his debut overseas trip - a hectic nine-country dash through Europe and the Middle East. The tail end of that trip will be a Syrian opposition conference in Rome, which some members of the sharply divided Syrian opposition council have threatened to boycott.
Kerry appealed directly to the opposition, telling a London press conference Monday that he is hopeful they will join the talks and is confident that steps will be taken to stem "unacceptable" bloodshed in Syria.
The United Nations says at least 70,000 people have been killed in Syria's 2-year civil war, which began as an uprising against Assad's regime.
"We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind, wondering where the support is, if it is coming," he said. ""We are not going to let the Syrian opposition not have its ability to have its voice properly heard in this process."
Kerry said the Syrian people "deserve better" than the violence currently gripping their country as he stood alongside Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Hague also stressed the need for action, saying an "appalling injustice" is being done to Syrian citizens.
"In the face of such murder and threat of instability, our policy cannot stay static as the weeks go by," Hague told the press conference. "We must significantly increase support for the Syrian opposition. We are preparing to do just that."
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