Washington Recognizes Syrian Opposition Offices as 'Foreign Mission'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

In a boost to the Syrian opposition, Washington has recognized its offices in the United States as diplomatic missions, U.S. officials said Monday, as the movement's chief prepares for high-level talks here.

Ahead of the first official visit by the head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, the move aims "to empower the Syrian moderate opposition," a senior U.S. administration figure told reporters.

Washington, which is already the largest single donor of humanitarian aid to Syrian people caught in the three-year conflict, is boosting its non-lethal support and speeding up military deliveries to what it sees as moderate rebels, those fighting both regime forces and the militant groups flooding onto the battlefield.

"This is an important step in the path toward a new Syria, its recognition on the international stage, and its relations with Syrian nationals in the U.S.," Jarba said, as his delegation began arriving in Washington.

He welcomed the move as "a diplomatic blow against" the legitimacy of President Bashar Assad "and demonstrates how far the opposition has progressed."

Jarba will be accompanied on his eight-day trip to the United States by the new chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Brigadier General Abdelilah al-Bashir, his office said last week.

"He will meet U.S. officials to discuss the supply of sophisticated weapons to the FSA to enable it to change the balance on the ground," his office said.

U.S. officials on a conference call with reporters refused to be drawn on the type of non-lethal aid or weapons being supplied by Washington.

But the senior official acknowledged that there was "an asymmetry militarily" between the opposition rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad they are fighting to overthrow.

The move to recognize the Syrian Opposition Coalition offices, which will not give the staff diplomatic immunity, comes after a peace process known as Geneva II collapsed in February amid bitter recriminations.

The U.S. along with many EU allies recognized the Syrian coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in late 2012.

Washington in March shuttered the Syrian embassy in the U.S. capital, prompting an angry response from Damascus.

Monday's move will "facilitate" the work of the Syrian opposition in "reaching out to the American people" and is something that the coalition had been calling for, the U.S. official said.

A further $27 million in new non-lethal support is being unveiled taking the total in such aid to $287 million, which in the past has included such things as communications equipment, night-goggles, medical supplies and ready-to-eat meals.

Rebels recently disclosed the existence of a pilot program under which a "Western source" supplied them with 20 U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles, with the promise of more if they were used effectively.

"The asymmetry that exists on the ground militarily unfortunately between the regime and the moderate opposition is problematic for the emergence of the kinds of political conditions necessary for a serious political process," the U.S. administration official said.

But "whoever thinks there will a sustainable and decisive military solution to this is deluding themselves."

He admitted though that "the current asymmetry does not provide the calculus to get that kind of serious, negotiated political process underway."

The U.S. and its allies were trying to find "various ways to strengthen the opposition and to try to bring increased pressure of various types on the Assad regime," he insisted.

"Of course we recognize that they need to have what they need to change the situation on the ground."

He also denounced as "a parody of democracy" presidential elections being held next month amid a brutal civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people since March 2011 and made millions homeless.

The move "rings particularly hollow given that the regime is continuing to attack and massacre the very electorate that is purporting to represent," he said.

Comments 16
Thumb saturn 05 May 2014, 21:10

Hey Uncle Sam, hen the bearded Qaeda types just like ones in that photo set up camp, will you also open an ISIL embassy?

Thumb ibinherathreik 05 May 2014, 22:53

tonseeb at its best. these brave rebels dont need sweet talking. they want weapons!

Thumb cedre 06 May 2014, 01:53

what do u care ft ? the one crucified are rebels, so u cant play again the fake minorities card...

Missing peace 05 May 2014, 22:37

good thing from the US even if it is not enough...

Missing peace 05 May 2014, 22:39

funny how assad has helped financed and harboured various ISLAMIST terrorist groups for décades and now M8ers cannot believe he still is doing so.... LOL
as if by magic it all vanished away.... LOL

Missing peace 05 May 2014, 22:56

he harboured many islamists groups, used them, manipulated them, sent them to Lebanon.... that is a fact even if you deny it...
alqaeda does not represent all the islamists groups as far as i know... so widen your eyes a bit...
aoun also said so... is he also an ignorant?

Thumb ibinherathreik 06 May 2014, 06:56

john the qawmi you are either delusional or ignorant of the facts.. i would like to think it is the delusional part...

Missing _karim 05 May 2014, 22:50

Who's the ambassador? Ayman Al Zawahri?

Missing _karim 05 May 2014, 22:55

"...the move aims "to empower the Syrian moderate opposition," a senior U.S. administration figure told reporters."

LOL. The "moderate" opposition which crucifies civilians, kidnaps and beheads priests, and eats the hearts and organs of dead soldiers.


Missing peace 05 May 2014, 22:58

how old are you? 5?

Thumb smarty 06 May 2014, 00:23

He's 6 and ½

Missing peace 05 May 2014, 23:02

LOL all is possible to you except the fact that assad can manipulate and use islamists...
why is that? because you cannot think that assad is a butcher? or that you just have islamists versus the regime only? or that it would mean that M8 is wrong together with hezbollah? LOL

funny guy you are indeed! LOL

Thumb cedre 06 May 2014, 01:54

always better than ur stupid blogs and alex jones' BS...
Go back to read alsafir and stop spamming here...

Thumb liberty 06 May 2014, 03:03

DO sectarians ever sleep! It is 3 in the morning in Lebanon and you are still posting, unbelievable!

Thumb Tony.Farris 06 May 2014, 04:26

Leave FT alone guys, let him go to sleep, family needs bread... lol
Did he move to the heart land of hizbCocaine?
Dearborn, Mi.?

Missing _karim 06 May 2014, 08:12

They tried arming Al Qaeda in the late 70s. Didn't work out too well.

Why would arming the modern-day version of Al Qaeda be any different?