Syrian coalition receives diplomatic status as fighting continues
Monday, May 05, 2014 - 01:37
May 5 - As fighting wreaks havoc in Syria, the country's main opposition group receives recognition as a foreign mission in the U.S. and $27 million in aid. Nathan Frandino reports.
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As explosions echo across the Damascus province in Syria, the death toll climbs with the billowing smoke.
New amateur video appears to show more destruction in the country's three-year-old conflict.
The fighting comes as the main opposition Syrian National Coalition reaches new heights on the diplomatic front with the U.S.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN MARIE HARF SAYING:
"First, we are strengthening our ties with the Syrian opposition. We are happy to announce that the Coalition's representative offices in the United States are now foreign missions under the Foreign Missions Act. Second, we are working with the United States Congress to provide more than $27 million in new non-lethal assistance, bringing the total non-lethal support we have committed and are providing for the Syrian opposition to nearly $287 million. Third, we are stepping up deliveries of non-lethal assistance to commanders in the Free Syrian Army to enhance their logistical capabilities."
The change is largely symbolic and does not mean that the U.S. is now recognizing the opposition as Syria's government.
Back in Syria, more amateur video appears to show flames engulfing the gas lines in Deraa.
Reuters cannot independently verify the videos, which were posted on a social media website.
The bloody conflict has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people, and forced another 2.5 million Syrians to flee the country.
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