Free Syrian Army Fighters
Islamist militant groups have been fighting alongside rebel fighters in Syria while seeking to spread their influence. Reuters

Coming on the heels of the meeting of the Syrian National Committee in Qatar and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's assertion to Russia Today that Syria is not in a civil war, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have now joined Libya in backing the SNC, declaring it the legitimate government of Syria, the BBC reported.

It is unclear whether the Gulf states will provide any military backing for the Free Syrian Army, but their support represents a step forward for the opposition in the 19-month fight against the Assad regime.

A spokeswoman for the SNC also told the BBC that the oppositions parties are now all unified under one party, saying, "This will give us hope, give the Syrian people hope and this will be an answer for the international community that all the time asks us to be one party."

The new leader of the SNC, a former imam in Damascus, Mouaz Alkhatib, speaking in Cairo to the Arab League, said now was not the time for sectarian conflicts to divide the opposition.

"We demand freedom for every Sunni, Alawi, Ismaili, Christian, Druze, Assyrian ... and rights for all parts of the harmonious Syrian people," he said, according to Reuters.