US upgrades Syrian opposition coalition

Washington has granted the Syrian opposition diplomatic status. The US government also plans an increase in non-lethal assistance to the rebels seeking to put an end to three years of civil war.
Syrian flag
The US announced it would now recognize the Syrian National Coalition representative offices in Washington and New York as "foreign missions" under the Foreign Missions Act. This will help the representatives with banking and security issues, but it will not give them diplomatic immunity.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that this largely symbolic move was intended to "empower the moderate Syrian opposition." It would not mean that the US was now recognizing the opposition as Syria's government.
Still, the head of the Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, who has been holding talks in Washington since Sunday, welcomed the move as a "diplomatic blow" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"This is an important step on the path towards a new Syria," he said.
The Coalition was founded in 2012. It is made up of Syrian opposition groups and is headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey. The US, along with many EU allies, recognize it as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The latest move is part of US attempts to strengthen the opposition ahead of next month's presidential elections in Syria.
The US government, which is the biggest donor to the Syrian opposition, also announced plans for a $27 million increase (19,5 million euros) in non-lethal assistance to the rebels. This includes medical aid, food rations, communications equipment and vehicles, and increases total US assistance to around $287 million.
But US assistance has fallen short of Syrian rebel demands for more sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, which it says it needs to turn the tables against Assad's army, which is supplied by Russia.
Assad's government forces have recently made military gains in the civil war, which has killed more than 150,000 people and made millions homeless since it broke out in March 2011./DW/.
US upgrades Syrian opposition coalition US upgrades Syrian opposition coalition Tuesday, May 06, 2014 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.