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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Friends of Syria Recognize Opposition Coalition

RIA Novosti

22:41 12/12/2012

DUBAI, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - The "Friends of Syria" group on Wednesday recognized the Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the Moroccan news agency MAP said.

The group, who met in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down and warned him against using chemical weapons.

The move follows the United States' decision to recognize the coalition, which drew a sharp reaction from Moscow, which said it shows Washington is gambling on a military victory by the coalition.

US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the United States has decided formally to recognize the Syrian opposition rebel coalition that is fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

'We've made a decision that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime,' Obama said in an interview with the ABC television network.

He described the move as a "big step."

In a summary of the interview posted on its website, ABC news said the move did not include a decision to provide weapons to the Syrian rebels but opened the door to that possibility in the future.

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNCROF) was formed on November 11 in Doha, Qatar and proclaimed itself the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Its legitimacy has since been recognized by France, the United Kingdom and several other countries.

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