Obama: U.S. will recognize Syrian rebels

Updated
Free Syrian Army fighters look at a Syrian Army jet, not pictured, in Fafeen village, north of Aleppo province, Syria, Tuesday.
Free Syrian Army fighters look at a Syrian Army jet, not pictured, in Fafeen village, north of Aleppo province, Syria, Tuesday.
Photos by Manu Brabo/AP

The United States will formally recognize the coalition of Syrian opposition groups as legitimate, President Obama said Tuesday, tightening the pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“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 told ABC News’ Barbara Walters.

Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, spoke with Walters before he was to meet with Syrian rebel leads in Morocco.

“It’s a big step,” Obama added. The United States joins the U.K., France, and the European Union in formally recognizing the Syrian rebel force.

Obama: U.S. will recognize Syrian rebels

Updated