The U.S. president, Barack Obama, recognized the new National Coalition Forces of the Revolution and the Syrian opposition (CNFROS) as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people. Obama affirmed his support for a coalition of rebels that have officially pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda-sponsored terrorist groups responsible for the killing of innocent civilians in their fight to bring down current Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
“We have decided that the Syrian opposition coalition is sufficiently inclusive and representative enough to reflect the Syrian population, who regard it as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people opposed to the Assad regime,” Obama said in excerpts from the interview given to ABC News and that will be broadcast in full on Friday.
The president described this change in policy towards Syria as “a big step” but cautioned, however, that “obviously, with that recognition come responsibilities.”
Part of those responsibilities, Obama said, is “to ensure that the rebel groups organize effectively” hosting all parties and that “they commit to a political transition that respects the rights of women and minorities.”
For Obama, the recognition of CNFROS as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, after almost two years of armed conflict, is “a big step” in the framework of the international community’s efforts to end the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The U.S. support for CNFROS comes after Obama has been criticized for allegedly not responding strongly enough to the conflict in Syria, which analysts say is part of a new phase of pressure to isolate Assad U.S. allies in Europe have also officially recognized the terrorist rebel coalition as the representatives of the Syrian people.
Obama made the announcement on the eve of the fourth meeting of the “Group of Friends of the Syrian people”, a multi=stake holder meeting that will take place tomorrow in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh and will serve as another test of the legitimacy of the CNFROS.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, today canceled her trip to this international conference due to a stomach virus, said hes spokesman, Philippe Reines. The United States will be represented by Undersecretary of State William Burns.
The U.S. government announced today that it has added the Al Nusra Front, an extremist group opposed to the Assad government to the coalition, even though this group is linked to Al- Qaeda in Iraq. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department today announced sanctions against two leaders of the Front Nusra, precisely because of their links with Al Qaeda in Iraq, and against two pro-government militias.
According to the Treasury, the Waterfront Nusra is responsible for more than 600 terrorist attacks in Syria since November 2011 and has killed and wounded hundreds of Syrians to “hijack the struggle of the Syrian opposition to increase their own extremist ideology. Not all who are participating in the fight on the ground against Assad are people with whom we feel comfortable. There are some that I think have adopted an extremist agenda, an anti-American agenda, and we will sure make a clear distinction between those elements, ” said Obama.
According to observers, Obama’s decision is an important political and psychological boost support to groups seeking to overthrow the Syrian regime, although it is not clear that the Washington government will offer financial or military support in the short term. That is not after officially supporting the group as a coalition, because Washington has been providing cash and weapons to various rebel groups since before the conflict started back in 2011.
Before Obama made his expected announcement before the cameras of ABC, UK, France, Turkey and several U.S. allies in the Arab world had already given their recognition to CNFROS last month.
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Contributed by Luis Miranda of The Real Agenda.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute.