WASHINGTON (AP) - Officials say the U.S. is preparing to recognize Syria's opposition council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in the coming weeks.

The announcement would come with greater U.S. support for the group seeking to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.

Several U.S. allies have already recognized the council.

Washington plans to do the same to coincide with a conference of more than 70 nations in Marrakesh, Morocco on Dec. 12. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning to attend the so-called Friends of Syria gathering.

The new status would be accompanied by pledges of more humanitarian and nonlethal aid for the opposition. But that won't mean U.S. arms support.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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