U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Syrian National Council (SNC) can no longer be seen as leading the opposition to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Secretary Clinton said Syria needs a united opposition dedicated to representing and protecting all of the country’s ethnic groups, and resisting efforts by extremists to hijack what she says has been “a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime.”
Clinton said the Obama administration no longer believes the Syrian National Council fills that role.
“We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” she said. “They can be part of a larger opposition. But that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”
The United States has grown increasingly frustrated by the SNC’s failure to include more opposition leaders inside Syria, its personality-driven leadership struggles, and its inability to attract a broad cross-section of Syrians, particularly minority Alawite and Kurds.
“This can not be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but have, in many instances, not been in Syria for 20, 30, 40 years,” said Clinton. “There has to be a representation of those who are on the front lines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.”