France is the first Western country to recognize the new anti-Assad Syrian coalition
Syria: France backs anti-Assad coalition
France has become the first Western power to recognise Syria's opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The move was announced by President Francois Hollande at a televised news conference in Paris.
Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in the Qatari capital Doha on Sunday to form a broad coalition to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. It came after 20 months of an uprising against his rule.
"I announce today that France recognises the Syrian national coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and as future government of a democratic Syria, allowing it to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad's regime," Mr Hollande told reporters.
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. ... We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community. ... We shall strive for perfection. ... We may make mistakes, but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.