(PARIS) — France has taken the step of formally recognizing the new Syrian opposition coalition as the “only representative of the Syrian people and therefore as the future provisional government of a democratic Syria.” With that, France became the only Western nation so far to recognize the coalition.
President Hollande says the question of whether to send weapons to the rebels — a policy opposed by France until now — will be reconsidered. He added that a military operation to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would only include France if the United Nations approved it.
The U.S. and Britain have been more cautious, backing the coalition but stopping short of formal recognition. Gulf Arab states — but not the Arab League — have also recognized the new umbrella group.
Questions remain about the coalition’s legitimacy in the eyes of armed rebels on the ground as well as minority groups inside Syria, some of which are rumored to have ties to Al Qeada and other terror groups.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN