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In a video posted online, an unidentified speaker sits at the head of a long table with representatives of 14 armed Islamist groups who reject the opposition coalition.
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Syrian Fighters Reject West for Islamist Rule
BBC News
Islamist rebel groups in the Syrian city of Aleppo say they reject the new Western-backed opposition coalition. In an internet video, they denounced what they called "the conspiratorial project" and said they intend to establish an "Islamist state" in Syria.

The EU recognised the new coalition on Monday as "legitimate representatives" of the Syrian people, but did not grant it full recognition. France has already backed the group as "sole representative" of Syrians.

Known as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and formed in Qatar on 11 November, the opposition has also been given full recognition by Turkey and the six Gulf states.

The UK may also follow suit, with Foreign Secretary William Hague due to make a parliamentary statement later on Tuesday, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus reports.

Mr Hague met the three main leaders of the new coalition in London last Friday, and told reporters in Brussels on Monday that he "was impressed with their objectives...their determination to be inclusive in Syria of all communities and groups within Syria".

Respect for human rights and inclusivity were essential preconditions for UK recognition, our correspondent adds.

Recognition for the opposition grouping would open the way to additional practical and political assistance, but falls short of arming fighters on the ground.

In Syria's second city, Aleppo, Islamist rebels are unimpressed with the new grouping.

In a video posted online, an unidentified speaker sits at the head of a long table with representatives of 14 armed Islamist groups who reject the opposition coalition. The groups included two of the main fighting factions in Aleppo, the al-Nusra Front, and the Tawhid Brigade.

"We are the representatives of the fighting formations in Aleppo and we declare our rejection of the conspiratorial project, the so-called national alliance," he says. "We have unanimously agreed to urgently establish an Islamic state."

The significance of the video proclamation was played down by the opposition coalition's new leader Moaz al-Khatib, who said in Cairo: "We will keep in contact with them for more cooperation in the interest of the Syrian people".

Mainstream rebel groups, such as the Free Syrian Army, have generally welcomed the new coalition leadership, the BBC's Jim Muir reports.


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