Hillary Clinton has urged the Syrian opposition to build a society that is free of the "whims of a dictator". The US Secretary of State spoke after meeting six members of the Syrian National Council, an exile group seeking to end the 41-year rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his late father.
She also urged the group to respect the rule of law and minority rights: "Obviously, a democratic transition includes more than removing the Assad regime.
"It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens, regardless of sect or ethnicity or gender."
She added: "The Syrian opposition that is represented here recognises that Syria's minorities have legitimate questions and concerns about their future.
"They need to be assured that Syria will be better off under a regime of tolerance and freedom that provides opportunity and respect and dignity on the basis of...consent rather than the whims of a dictator."
Clinton's meeting with the opposition comes after the United States announced it would be sending its ambassador to Syria back to Damascus after he was recalled in October.
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