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Twenty-one months into the civil war that has stormed Syria, President Bashar Assad and his troops were handed another blow as the United States formally recognized the opposition forces of Syria as "the legitimate representative" of the Syrian people on December 11, 2012.

Civil war broke out in Syria in March 2011 and against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The United Nations declared Syria to be in a state of civil war. In February 2012, the Assad administration stepped up bombardment of Homs and other Syrian cities. Homs district was recaptured in March 2012. Even as violence in the country escalated, the UN Security Council endorsed a non-binding peace plan drafted by UN envoy Kofi Annan. The UN statement which was short only of a formal resolution condemned the government's bombardment and use of weaponry. In retaliation to the killing of over a hundred civilians near Homs, a number of countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, expelled Syrian diplomats in their countries. In June President Assad declared the crisis "real war". Syria shot down a Turkish plane and the Turkish administration declared that if Syrian troops approached Turkish borders they would be considered a military threat.

By August, the Assad government started to suffer greatly with the UN demanding President Assad's resignation and the defections of many high-level members including the Prime Minister Riad Hijab. Lakhdar Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan as the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria. Syria has been increasingly embroiled in tensions with Turkey with much cross-firing across the borders. A number of opposition forces in the country including the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and Opposition Forces and the Syrian National Council, united in their opposition of Assad.

Estimates suggest that over 2.5 million people have been displaced within Syria and the UN believed that this figure is a conservative estimate. In December 2012, the US endorsed France, Turkey, the UK and other Gulf nations and granted Syria's opposition National Coalition a formal recognition as "the legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.

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