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U.S. Recognizes Syrian Opposition
December 13, 2012

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The United States has joined other nations in recognizing the Syrian opposition.

President Barack Obama made the announcement, saying his country joined France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia in proclaiming the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as truly able to represent the Syrian people as a whole. The announcement coincided with a meeting of the Friends of Syria, a group of foreign ministers from 70 countries, in Morocco. Attending the meeting was Moaz al-Khatib, the National Coalition's leader.

Echoing concerns expressed by other Western leaders, Obama urged the Syrian opposition to seek a political transition that includes protection for the rights of women and minorities. The opposition is united in its intent to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power but is also made up of elements that Western leaders view with suspicion.

Meanwhile, officials from the U.S. and NATO reported that Syrian government forces had fired Scud-type missile at opposition forces. No evidence of chemical weapons was reported. Scud missiles are short-range ballistic missiles that have been used in various conflicts during the past few decades, most notably Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

The nearly two-year uprising against Assad has involved protests and armed conflict in nearly all corners of the country, with government forces and opposition forces claiming and reclaiming a wide range of territory, including whole cities and suburbs of the major cities, including Aleppo, Homs, and Damascus. Fighting has intensified in the capital in recent weeks as opposition forces try to press an advantage there. Other countries have removed staff from the area, in particular because of doubts about the security of the Damascus airport.

The recognition by one more nation, even a large and powerful one, did not bring with it a promise to deliver money and weapons, something the opposition still needs in abundance. Assad continues to enjoy a sizable though dwindling monetary reserves and regular shipments of weapons from Russia.

Human rights groups say that the conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.






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