France backs new Syria oppn fighting Assad regime

France became the first European power to recognise Syria’s new opposition coalition as the sole representative of its people and said on Tuesday it would look into arming rebels against President Bashar al-Assad once they form a government.

Twenty months into their bloody uprising against Assad, fragmented Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in Qatar on Sunday to form a broad coalition and their leader immediately appealed for European backing.

“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 making it possible to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad's regime,” French President Francois Hollande said, breaking ranks with European allies. Six Gulf Arab states took a similar step on Monday.

The question of arming the rebels would be looked at as soon as the rebel coalition formed a transitional government, Hollande told a news conference in Paris. Arab League and EU foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Tuesday welcomed the formation of the coalition as an important step forward.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)