Obama renews commitments to Syrian opposition

Opposition chief thanked the U.S. for the $287 million in nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition

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U.S. President Barack Obama praised Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad Jarba and a coalition delegation, renewing his commitments to the group in a meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

Obama and national security adviser Susan Rice offered commitments for what the White House calls a political solution to the conflict that includes a transition to a new governing authority.

The president said that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy to rule his country and has no place in the future of the nation.

The meeting came near the end of Jarba's week-long visit to Washington, where the United States officially recognized the Syrian National Coalition as a diplomatic foreign mission and boosted assistance to the group.

The White House says in a statement that Obama has encouraged the coalition to further its vision for an inclusive government. In turn, Jarba thanked the United States for the $287 million in nonlethal assistance and its $1.7 billion commitment to humanitarian aid in Syria and neighboring countries, The Associated Press reported.

But there was no mention in the statement of Jarba's previous plea to the administration for anti-aircraft weapons to combat the barrel bombings unleashed by Assad's forces.

"President Obama welcomed the coalition's leadership and constructive approach to dialogue, and encouraged the coalition to further its vision for an inclusive government that represents all of the people of Syria," the White House said in a statement.

"The delegations also discussed the risks posed by growing extremism in Syria and agreed on the need to counter terrorist groups on all sides of the conflict," the statement added.

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