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Britain Recognizes Syrian Opposition; Fighting Rages

The Syrian Opposition got a boost from the UK today: William Hague announced that Downing Street recognizes the opposition council as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Syrian people and a “credible” alternative to the Assad regime. The BBC has the story:

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Hague said the Syrian opposition would be invited to appoint a political representative to the UK and would be given £1.6m to help with communications equipment.

The UK will also offer assistance to help the coalition set up political and humanitarian structures and deploy a “stabilisation response” team in Syria to help provide basic services to people in opposition-controlled areas. […]

“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 added.

“A credible alternative to the Assad regime is emerging that has the growing support of the Arab League, the European Union, the United States and an increasing number of other countries.”

Tick tick tick. The march toward intervention continues.

Meanwhile, fighting has raged in Syria over the past few days. A stubborn rebel force is held up in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus, holding off elite Republican Guard troops and weathering air strikes in an all-out regime attack. Daraya was the scene of a brutal massacre a few months ago; perhaps 500 people were killed over two days of slaughter.

Dozens of people were also killed in fighting between a Free Syrian Army brigade and armed Kurdish fighters in the northern city of Ras Al Ain. “Most of the Kurds want neither the rebels nor the regime,” Rashid Mohammed, a Kurdish farmer who fled the area, told CNN.

So while the opposition abroad is going strong, setting up a headquarters in Cairo and gaining support from Europe, the US, and the Arab world, the fighting in Syria shows no sign of tipping one way or the other.

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