Hague recognises Syrian opposition
William Hague has told MPs the UK has decided to recognise Syrian opposition groups as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary announced a £2m package of support for the Syrian opposition.
He said: "On the basis of the assurances I received and my consultations with European partners yesterday, Her Majesty’s Government has decided to recognise the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people."
He also announced "a significant increase in practical support for the Syrian Opposition by the United Kingdom".
Mr Hague said the UK Government will invite the Coalition to appoint a political representative to the UK, and will offer support to them as they set up their political and humanitarian structures.
The UK will also provide "a £1 million package of communications support, which could for instance include mobile internet hubs and satellite phones to improve the Coalition’s ability to communicate inside Syria".
Additionally, the UK will deploy a Stabilisation Response Team to the region to work with the Coalition and will look at increasing humanitarian medical assistance for wounded Syrian civilians.
Mr Hague said: "This new package of UK support amounts to around £2 million of immediate commitments, and we will look to expand this considerably in the coming months."
It comes as Islamist insurgents in the Syrian city Aleppo have rejected the newly unified, Western-backed opposition coalition.
The EU yesterday recognised the new coalition as "legitimate representatives" of the Syrian people, stopping short of following France in granting it full official recognition.
But in an internet video, rebel groups denounced the coalition as a "conspiratorial project" and called for the establishment of an Islamist state.