100 countries back new Syrian coalition
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) - More than 100 countries on Wednesday recognised a new Syrian opposition coalition, opening the way for greater humanitarian assistance to the forces battling Bashar Assad and possibly even military aid.
The opposition has been under intense international pressure to create a more organised and representative body to channel any aid extended by foreign countries and so it formed the Syrian National Coalition in Doha, Qatar, in November that was widely applauded at a conference in Morocco.
The world's recognition of the Libyan opposition gave it a huge boost in the battle against Muammar Gaddafi last year, though that was later backed by Western airstrikes. Military intervention does not appear to be in the cards for Syria, where the government has the powerful backing of Russia, China and Iran.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the Friends of the Syrian People conference meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, "extraordinary progress". He noted that the European Union is now renewing its weapons embargo on Syria every three months, rather than annually, to be more flexible as the situation on the ground changes.