Now tell us something we don’t know.

WASHINGTON – The top US envoy to Syria warned on Thursday that extremists were gaining influence in the Syrian opposition and that this influence would only increase the longer fighting dragged on in the Levant country.

US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, speaking to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, described extremist groups that had “little by little been gaining influence among the armed opposition.” He pointed particularly to an al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq that is now operating in Syria.

Extremist elements, which are still a minority among the opposition, pose “an obstacle to finding the political solution that Syria needs,” he said.

However, he stressed, America sees a political solution as the only way to resolve the violence in Syria – one in which President Bashar Assad plays no role.