The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council recognized the new broad-based Syrian opposition group today as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, the first formal endorsement of the opposition group that seeks to topple President Bashar Assad. Syrian anti-government groups struck a deal yesterday after more than a week of meetings in Qatar. They were under intense international pressure to form a new opposition leadership that will include representatives from the country's disparate factions fighting to topple Assad's regime. The deal is backed by the US and other Western countries.
The opposition has been deeply divided for months despite the relentless bloodshed in Syria that has left more than 36,000 people killed and repeated calls from their Western and Arab supporters to create a cohesive and representative leadership that could serve as a conduit for foreign aid. In its statement, the GCC said it will offer "support and endorsement to this entity to realize the aspirations and hopes of the Syrian people." The council said it hoped the new body will be a step toward quick political transfer of power and put an end to the bloodshed. The GCC is made up of Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.