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Russia Calls Syrian Opposition's Arab League Seat 'Illegal'

A pre-Ba'ath regime Syrian flag, currently used by the opposition, is seen in front of the seat of the Syrian delegation at the opening the Arab League summit in Doha on March 26.
Russia has criticized the Arab League's decision to give Syria's seat in the organization to the antigovernment opposition as "Illegal," "indefensible," and "anti-Syrian."

The Foreign Ministry statement said on March 27 that the Arab League's decision would encourage supporters of a military solution to the Syrian conflict.

Moscow also said the Arab League's decision to support giving military assistance to Syrian rebels was "inconsistent" and violated international law.

Iran said the decisions revealed "a pattern of dangerous behavior."

The opposition National Coalition took over Syria's official seat in an Arab League summit that opened in Doha, Qatar on March 26.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government accused the league of handing the seat to "bandits and thugs."

Syrian government officials were not invited to the summit.

The Arab League suspended the Syrian government's membership in late 2011 in reaction to the government's violent crackdown on antigovernment demonstrations, which then turned into a brutal civil war.

In related news, the Syrian opposition group on March 27 opened its first "embassy."

The head of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, used the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the representative office in Qatar to criticize the failure of world powers to help rebels topple Assad.

Khatib resigned as leader of the National Coalition this week but is staying on as caretaker.

Based on reporting by, Interfax, AFP, and Reuters