The US government has formally recognized Syria's opposition coalition, President Barack Obama told broadcaster ABC News in interview excerpts released late Tuesday.
The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed last month as a broad-based coalition against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, DPA reported.
"We've made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime," Obama said.
The diplomatic shift in Washington comes ahead of Wednesday's meeting of the Friends of Syria grouping in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Obama called recognition "a big step" that brings responsibilities for the Syrian coalition: "To make sure that they organize themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women's rights and minority rights."