Western powers greeted the new umbrella rebel coalition in Syria today as fighting raged unabated across the country.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the formation of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces was an "important milestone."
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington looked forward to supporting the "national coalition" and French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius said he would work to get it international recognition.
Qatar and Turkey said the new body meant there was no longer any excuse for the "international community" not to support the opposition.
But Beijing was less enthusiastic. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was "of the opinion that all sides in Syria should stop fighting immediately, support mediation efforts and start a political transition."
The coalition was formed during talks in Qatar to co-ordinate rebel fighters under a political leadership and topple the Bashar al-Assad government.
Coalition president Maath al-Khatib declared that insurgent fighters in Syria were "searching for freedom" and dismissed reports of atrocities and sectarian bloodshed, saying that if rebels committed "improper acts" it was because of the Assad regime's brutality.
Government jets bombed a rebel-held area near the Turkish border today, killing at least six people. The mayor's office in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar said it had sent ambulances over the border to collect the wounded.
And helicopters raced to relieve soldiers besieged by opposition fighters south of Ras al-Ayn, reportedly dropping ammunition and food and attacking rebels in a bid to open an escape route for the troops.
Israel stepped up its involvement today after a Syrian shell fell on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the second day in a row. The military said it had fired back, scoring "direct hits" on mobile artillery units.
Israel also bombed Gaza, with three air strikes on "militant sites" in the morning. Resistance fighters in the blockaded enclave responded by firing "at least 10" rockets into Israel, though no injuries were reported.
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