William Hague "encouraged" after meeting Syrian opposition leaders
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday the new Syrian opposition coalition could be "credible political alternative" to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, DPA reported.
"The formation of the coalition is a very encouraging development and I am further encouraged by the discussions I've had with them this morning," Hague said after talks in London with representatives of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which was formed in Qatar last week.
Hague said that in his meeting with coalition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib he stressed the importance of respecting minority rights, as well as preventing sexual violence and the abuse of prisoners.
No decision has yet been reached on whether Britain will recognize the coalition as the legitimate government of Syria, said Hague, who noted he would address parliament on the matter next week.
French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to meet leaders of the alliance in Paris on Saturday.
Turkey on Thursday recognized the coalition, which aims to present a united front against al-Assad's government.
The coalition, to be based in Cairo, is expected to establish a provisional government to manage rebel-held areas inside Syria and handle the opposition's international contacts.
Violence on Friday across Syria killed at least 70 people, including 29 government forces, reported the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A suicide bomb blast rocked the neighbourhood of Serian in the northern province of Aleppo, killing one person and wounding four, state-run television reported.
The Observatory reported that dozens of people, including an Arab and a Dutch journalists, were injured when troops shelled Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood.
Troops launched an assault on the rebel-held area of al-Rastan, in the central province of Homs, and shelled the restive town of al-Zabadani, on the outskirts of Damascus, activists said.