SEOUL, South Korea – Seeking to stem the violence in Syria, the U.S. and other key allies are considering providing Syrian rebels with communications help, medical aid and other “non-lethal” assistance.

President Obama discussed the potential aid options Sunday in a lengthy private meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both leaders are in Seoul for a nuclear security summit.

Turkey has been a key U.S. partner in international efforts to quell violence in neighboring Syria and push President Bashar Assad to leave power. The United Nations estimates 8,000 people — many civilian protesters — have been killed in year-long clashes between forces loyal to Assad and opposition fighters.

Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, said Sunday that communications assistance could be critical to the opposition’s efforts.

The U.S. has been loath to intervene militarily in Syria or provide the rebels with weapons, saying that would only further militarize an already violent situation. The Obama administration and its allies have been seeking ways to provide humanitarian assistance in Syria.

Rhodes said the prospect of providing the rebels with non-lethal assistance would be a central focus of the April 1 meeting of the diplomatic group Friends of Syria to be held in Turkey. The U.S. will be represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.