Britain elevates diplomatic status of Syria opposition

Britain has upgraded the status of the London office of the Syrian opposition to a diplomatic mission, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday.

The boost to the National Coalition headed by Ahmad Jarba comes 10 days after the United States extended similar recognition to the umbrella group.

After a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in London, Hague said Britain would provide an extra £30 million ($50 million, 37 million euros) in "practical support to help the opposition" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"We have also decided to upgrade the status of the National Coalition's representative office here in London to a mission in recognition of the strength of our partnership," Hague said.

The Syrian government's last senior diplomat in London, a charge d'affaires, resigned in July 2012 in protest against the Assad regime's crackdown on protesters. Damascus had previously withdrawn its ambassador to Britain.