Nov 20, 2012 Comments Off Chuck Biscuits
Britain has decided to recognise formally Syria’s newly formed opposition coalition as the “sole representative of the Syrian people” that was “emerging as a credible alternative” to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Excerpted from The Telegraph: William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told Parliament that the decision had been reached after he met leaders from the Syrian National Coalition last week and was convinced of their commitment to human rights and responsible leadership.
He said he had asked the group to appoint a political representative to Britain. His announcement was supported by Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary.
The coalition, whose full name is the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, was formed earlier this month in Doha to unite Syria’s splintered opposition groups, in an attempt to boost their chances of securing foreign aid and arms in their bid to topple the Syrian president.
The regime has so far survived a rebellion that has lasted 21 months and claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. Last week France became the first Western nation to officially recognise the Syrian National Coalition.
With 100 people still dying every day, Mr Hague said the Government would not exclude the possibility of providing military support for the rebels at a later date. “We will not rule out any option in accordance with international law that might save innocent lives,” Mr Hague said.
He also announced £1 million in aid for communications equipment and infrastructure and other forms of civilian aid.
Mr Hague said earlier that he had pressed Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib and his two deputies on the need to include all Syria’s minorities and to respect human rights.
The previous umbrella opposition group, the Syrian National Council, was riven by internal divisions and lacked contacts with rebels in the day to day struggle against the regime. The group has been abandonned by the international community.
European nations are discussing whether to overturn an arms embargo on Syria, which would allow weapons to be supplied to rebel forces struggling to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime.