I guess he wanted to do it before Assad was completely defeated.
Obama recognises Syria opposition coalition
11 December 2012 Last updated at 19:06 ET
The US has formally recognised Syria's opposition rebel coalition as the "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people, says President Obama.
Speaking to ABC News in the US, Mr Obama said the coalition was now "inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough".
He described the move - already made by the UK and the EU - as "a big step".
Activists say some 40,000 people have died in more than 18 months of battle against President Bashar al-Assad. More...
Q Syria, Jay?
MR. CARNEY: Yes, Syria.
Q Can you explain to us which groups you're going to support and which groups you won’t and what your reasoning is?
MR. CARNEY: I can say a few things. Tomorrow, Deputy Secretary of State Burns will attend the Friends of Syria -- Friends of the Syrian People meeting in Morocco. We will do all we can to broaden our support of the Syrian opposition coalition and to work with like-minded countries to bring this crisis to an end.
We are pleased with the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s continued efforts to organize, form technical committees, engage with the international community, and take concrete steps to promote a unified, just, democratic future for Syria.
These actions are in line with what we and our international partners hoped would result from the formation of the Syrian Opposition Coalition in Doha last month. As we look to tomorrow’s meeting and our ongoing efforts to support the Syrian people, let me be absolutely clear: The United States stands with the Syrian people in insisting that any transition process result in a peaceful, unified, democratic Syria, in which all citizens are protected -- Sunni, Alawite, Christians, Kurds, Druze, men, women and children. And a future of this kind cannot include Bashar al Assad.
Q Still no plans for the U.S. to get involved militarily?
MR. CARNEY: That's correct. We provide significant assistance to the Syrian people in humanitarian aid. We provide significant non-lethal assistance to the opposition. But our position on providing lethal aid has not changed.
Q Jay, can I follow up on Syria?
MR. CARNEY: Okay, let me -- I've got to get to some folks in the back. But go ahead, Kristen, on this. On Syria, go ahead.
Q Okay, thank you. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta seemed to suggest that the Syrian government had slowed its preparations of chemical weapons, that the administration is not as concerned about this as it may have been last week. Can you talk a little bit about that? Is that accurate, and what has changed?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I'm not going to get into assessments beyond what Secretary of Defense Panetta said. I would simply reiterate our clear warning to the Assad regime about the potential use of or proliferation of chemical weapons. And that warning was made by the President, and that warning stands.
We take this very seriously. And were the Assad regime to unwisely make the wrong choice here, there would be consequences.