WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday announced enhanced diplomatic standing and $27 million in new aid for the main Syrian opposition group, part of a campaign to re-brand a coalition that’s proven ineffectual, lacking in popular support and outgunned by both government forces and Islamist rebels.

The boost to the embattled Syrian Opposition Coalition, which the U.S. government recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, recognizes the group as a “foreign mission.” It coincides with a nine-day visit to Washington intended to “reintroduce the face of the Syrian moderate opposition” to Americans and to European allies, said a senior administration official, who briefed reporters under the condition of anonymity.

But the upgrade in diplomatic standing is primarily symbolic – it does ease some banking and outreach efforts – and analysts of the Syrian conflict warned that it is little more than window dressing, with no major policy shift in the offing from the Obama administration.

Moreover, they noted, the opposition coalition remains made up of the same figures whose infighting and political divisions have infuriated American officials and Syrian constituents for years – the same faces with the same ideological, religious and personal rifts among them.

“The problems, essentially, can’t be solved because they’re part of the very fabric of this body,” said Faysal Itani, who follows the Syrian conflict closely as a fellow with the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

The coalition’s president, Ahmad Jarba, hailed the development in a statement on the coalition’s website. “This is a diplomatic blow against Assad’s legitimacy and demonstrates how far the opposition has progressed,” he said.

But the meetings that Jarba and his entourage have scheduled with Secretary of State John Kerry, senior White House officials and U.S. lawmakers, as well as media interviews and appearances at foreign policy think tanks, won’t appreciably change developments in Syria, where President Bashar Assad is scheduled to hold elections next month that in all likelihood will see his rule endorsed after three years of bitter civil war.

Since early in the conflict, the coalition and its predecessor, the Syrian National Coalition, as well as its semi-affiliated armed wing, the Supreme Military Council, have been overshadowed by the Assad regime as well as by the jihadist fighters who took over the armed rebellion.

The push comes at a time when confusion swirls among close Syria watchers as to who is in charge of the Supreme Military Council and what role it’s playing since U.S. rebel point man Brig. Gen. Salim Idris was ousted in February. An Islamist fighting bloc has emerged as the key rebel force; extremist elements, some aligned with al-Qaida, reportedly are gaining ground in southern Syria while Assad’s forces have retaken control of many key Damascus suburbs and other population centers in central Syria.