US President Barack Obama declared Syria's main opposition group the sole "legitimate representative" of its country's people, deeming the move "a big step" in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime. Obama said the newly formed Syrian Opposition Council "is now inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status, which paves the way for the greater US support for the organisation.
"Obviously, with that recognition comes responsibilities," Obama said in an interview with ABC News. "To make sure that they organise themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women's rights and minority rights." Recognition of the council as the sole representative of Syria's diverse population brings the US in line with Britain, France and several of America's Arab allies, who took the same step shortly after the body was created last month.