The Obama Administration is asking the U.S. Congress for $500 million to equip and train selected members of the armed moderate Syrian opposition.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Thursday the money will also be used to help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under rebel control and meet the threat of terrorism.
Hayden said while there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria, the money would be another step toward helping the Syrian people defend themselves against attacks by the Assad regime.
President Obama had told the graduating class of the West Point military academy last month that the U.S. must push back against extremists who he said are finding safe haven in the chaos in Syria.
The Sunni rebellion in Syria has influenced Sunni extremists in their uprising in Iraq.
In New York Thursday, U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said the Syrian government has put up bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions on where and when aid can be delivered.