Australia has today acknowledged the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian Opposition Council) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the acknowledgement was an important step in the transition away from the Assad regime.
"Australia joins the United States, the UK, France and many others in acknowledging the Syrian opposition and further delegitimising the Assad regime," Senator Carr said.
"Australia and others will work with the Syrian Opposition Council to encourage development of political structures and adherence to democratic principles.
"It's important there be a credible alternative for Syria once a political transition occurs."
The acknowledgement follows today's Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh Morocco (overnight December 12-13 AEDT) involving 114 nations and resulting in broad endorsement of the Syrian Opposition Council.
The Syrian conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives and left two million people homeless including 475,000 who have fled as refugees to neighbouring Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.
Australia has contributed more than $30 million in humanitarian aid to refugees from the Syrian conflict in addition to funding for a six-person expert team to work in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon on child protection, engineering and logistics.
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