WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday recognized Syria's main opposition group as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
In an interview with ABC News, Obama said the Syrian Opposition Council was now "inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status, which paved the way for increasing U.S. aid to the organization.
With the recognition, Washington would take on new responsibilities to "make sure that they organize 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," Obama said.
The U.S. move followed similar steps taken by Britain, France and several Arab countries, which recognized the rebel council shortly after it was created at a meeting of opposition representatives held in Qatar last month.
The U.S. recognition of the council also came before a Friends of Syria meeting on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco.
Moscow said on Tuesday that it would keep a wary eye on the upcoming meeting in Morocco to see if it could make some adjustments to the hardline approach of some Syrian opposition groups, which did not show any willingness to negotiate with the Syrian government and insisted on continued armed struggle.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on the same day the number of Syrian refugees had exceeded half a million.
"More than half a million Syrian refugees have now been registered or are awaiting registration in four surrounding countries and North Africa," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
UNHCR predicted that the number would further go up as the conflict in Syria continues, resources are depleted and host countries and families could no longer support them.
"According to the agency, only about 40 percent of registered Syrian refugees across the region actually live in refugee camps," said Nesirky. "The majority live outside camps, often in rental housing, with host families, or in various types of collective centers and renovated accommodation."
Meanwhile, Syrian troops continued on Tuesday securing the road to the international airport at Damascus, eliminating a number of rebel snipers who had been positioned in the nearby Akraba suburb that overlooks part of the road.
Earlier, armed militia tried to cut off the 30-km road from the Akraba point in a bid to paralyze the capital and pave the way for other armed groups to storm the capital from other routes.
Moreover, the rebels have issued a statement warning civilians of heading toward the airport and announcing the area a war zone.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Tuesday blacklisted Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated group it accused of trying to "hijack" the struggles of the Syrian opposition, and hit two of its leaders with sanctions.
The State Department listed Nusra Front as an alias of ai-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), blaming it for nearly 600 terrorist attacks in Syria since November 2011, including more than 40 suicide attacks.Full story
LONDON, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Britain has decided to recognize the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Hague announced the news, adding that there will also be a significant increase in practical support for the Syrian opposition by Britain.Full story
TUNIS, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Tunisia and Libya agreed Thursday to delay the recognition of a new Syrian opposition bloc, the official TAP press agency reported Friday.
Visiting president of the Libyan National Congress, Mohamed Magrif, announced Thursday during a press conference with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to hold off on recognizing the new Syrian opposition coalition called the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, the report said.Full story
BRUSSELS, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Monday said it recognizes the Syrian opposition coalition as the "legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people" at a foreign affairs council.
The EU welcomed the agreement reached on Nov. 11 in the meeting of the Syrian opposition groups gathered in Doha and in particular the formation of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, it said in a statement.Full story