OTTAWA - As the possibility of a military strike against Syria looms, some details of Canada's supporting role in the conflict have emerged.
Canada has given $5.3-million to the Syrian opposition to support the rebels in anti-government propaganda since April 2012, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAIT).
Canadian funding has helped Syrian rebels establish a pirate radio network and training for journalists and bloggers "in an effort to rapidly increase international credibility of the Syrian opposition and visibility of humanitarian news reporting from Syria," the government says.
Canada contributed $650,000 toward helping the Syrian Justice and Accountability Centre establish a secure database as part of a program to help support "research and collect evidence of human rights violations for use in future Syria-led transitional justice processes."
Providing communications equipment has been a priority for the government.
Canada has also provided pre-paid airtime for satellite Internet communication devices with the goal of "increasing co-ordination between opposition networks of local civilian actors involved in local administration and political leadership, during both the conflict and transition phases in Syria," according to the DFAIT.
In a joint project with the U.S. State Department and the U.K., Canada has contributed to an opposition-controlled media apparatus that produces content for broadcast and print.
The Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives has devised training programs specializing in journalism, activism and leadership, conflict-resolution and community development, to which the government has given $237,000.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have been firm that Canada's role in any military action in Syria will be entirely symbolic.