The United States has called for a major overhaul of Syria's beleaguered opposition, saying it is time to move beyond the Syrian National Council (SNC) and bring in those who are "in the frontlines fighting and dying today", Aljazeera reported.
Signalling a more active stance by Washington in attempts to form a credible political opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said a meeting next week in Qatar would be an opportunity to bring more people to the table and broaden the coalition against him.
"This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but who, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for 20, 30, 40 years," Clinton said during a visit to Croatia on Wednesday.
"There has to be a representation of those who are in the frontlines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom."
Clinton's comments represented a clear break with the SNC, a largely foreign-based political group which has been among the most vocal proponents of international intervention in the Syrian conflict.
US officials have privately expressed their frustration with the SNC's inability to come together with a coherent plan and with its lack of traction with the disparate internal groups which have waged the bloody 19-month uprising against Assad's government.
Clinton also signalled a stronger US push to help shape the face of the political opposition, noting that with increasing sectarian tensions it was important that the next rulers of Syria are both inclusive and committed to rejecting extremism.
"There needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria. And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution," she said.