Barack Obama said during a TV interview on The Barbara Walters Show on US television that the US and UN recognises that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is the legitimate representative of all of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime, offering a new legitimacy to the Syrian rebel group. He also added that he hopes this will also include women's and minority group's rights.

The statement comes after the friends of Syria conference being hosted in Marrakesh to discuss the 20 month Syrian crisis. The US secretary of State Hilary Clinton was due to attend, but was replaced by Deputy Bill Burns through illness.

The head of the Syrian Council speaking here said he hopes that this UN recognition will enable Assad to be tried for crimes against the Syrian people in due course. He said,

"I personally wish to see him in front of a Syrian court trying him according to Syrian law, as for us Syrians, we want to see him and all his regime remnants leave power because they have shed Syrian blood and they have ruined Syria's history, culture and people and they must be stopped from committing such criminal acts."

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