Syria opposition formally recognized by the UK, while some militants reject the new coalition


Syrian boys inspect a destroyed army tank in the northern town of Atareb, 25 kms east of Syria's second largest city Aleppo, on July 31, 2012. While fighting raged in Syria's commercial capital Aleppo for a fourth straight day, clashes between the Syrian army and rebels also erupted in Damascus and other parts of the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.



Britain has formally recognized the new Syrian opposition coalition as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.

Foreign Secretary William Hague made the announcement Tuesday and promised new aid for the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His announcement, made in a statement to members of Parliament, marks a significant shift in British policy, the Guardian reported.

Hague told the parliament that the UK would consider any possible action in Syria that could save lives, the BBC reported. More than 30,000 have been killed in the 20-month conflict with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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Syria's newly-formed opposition, called the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, brings together various opponents of Assad's brutal regime.

France was the first EU nation to recognize the group when President Francois Hollande made an announcement last week

Hague said that the UK's endorsement comes after he received "encouraging" assurances from the opposition.

"It is strongly in the interests of Syria, of the wider region and of the United Kingdom that we support them and deny space to extremist groups," he said, according to the Independent. "On the basis of the assurances I received and my consultation with European partners yesterday, Her Majesty's Government has decided to recognize the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people."