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Middle East

US waits to affirm Syrian rebels

The United States declined to follow France in fully recognising a fledgling Syrian opposition coalition yesterday, saying the body must prove its worth after its predecessor was dogged by feuding and accusations of Islamist domination.

Syria decried the new grouping, which it said had closed the door to a negotiated solution with President Bashar al-Assad.

"The whole world, and Syria too, says the problem in Syria should be solved in a peaceful framework and through a national dialogue, [but] the first decision taken after forming the coalition in Doha was to reject dialogue and to continue the war," Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told Russia Today in an interview that was also carried on Syria's state news agency.

"They want to destroy Syria."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the formation of the coalition, which supersedes the widely discredited Syrian National Council as the face of the Syrian opposition, was an important step.