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What is The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces? (+video)

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The BBC adds that Qatar, host of the opposition talks and a key backer of the rebels, also welcomed the unification. Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani said that he plans to travel Monday to "seek a full recognition of this new body" at the Arab League, which suspended Syria's membership due to the government's attacks on civilians.

Former SNC head Burhan Ghalioun told The New York Times that he hoped the world would act quickly to embrace the new group. “I think the difference will start to show right away on the ground as the people will feel that there is a political power that represents them, and one body that unites its opposition,” he said. “We expect international recognition in regional and international forums.”

Russia's response to the new opposition body was cooler, according to Agence France-Presse. The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement cautioning the new body against being manipulated by foreign powers. "The main criteria for us is that members of such alliances must act based on a platform of peaceful regulation of the conflict by Syrians themselves, without interference from outside and through dialogue and negotiation," the statement read. Russia has stood by the regime of President Assad, a regional ally, since the uprising began, and has blocked several Western attempts to act on the conflict through the UN Security Council.

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