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U.K. in tight embrace with Syrian council

Dec. 6, 2012 at 9:27 AM

LONDON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The British government said a decision by a Syrian opposition council to appoint a representative to London was a step toward political transition.

Walid Saffour, the envoy for the Syrian opposition council, met with British Director for Middle East and North Africa David Quarrey in London to discuss the government's policy toward Syria.

"Saffour's appointment as the National Coalition representative to the U.K. is a sign of the progress the National Coalition are making and we look forward to working closely together as we provide practical support in the coming weeks and months," the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

The British government last month was among of European allies that recognized the council "as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people." Washington had said it was withholding formal recognition while the council evolves.

The Syrian civil war is moving closer to Damascus. Non-essential U.N. workers there were redeployed because of security concerns and this week, NATO said it was honoring a request from the Turkish government to help defend its borders.

Germany is said to be delivering Patriot missiles to Turkey, though NATO has ruled out a no-fly zone over Syrian territory.

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