President Barack Obama has said the US now considers Syria's main opposition group the sole "legitimate representative" of the country's people, deeming the move "a big step" in the international diplomatic efforts to end President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Obama said the newly formed Syrian National Coalition "is now inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status.
"Obviously, with that recognition comes responsibilities," Obama said in an interview on Tuesday with American ABC News. "To make sure that they organise themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women's rights and minority rights."
The move, which was widely expected, could give new international legitimacy to the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, but stops short of authorising US arming of the opposition.
Washington has so far only provided humanitarian, non-lethal aid to the rebels, officially declining to send arms, a position White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated on Tuesday. ...Al Jazeera
Haven't we been providing materiel for months?