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France has become the first Western power to recognise the newly united Syrian opposition as the only representative of the Syrian people.
"France recognises the Syrian National Coalition as the only representative of the Syrian people and therefore as the future provisional government of a democratic Syria," President Francois Hollande told a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.
The question of arming the rebels would be looked at as soon as the rebel coalition formed a transitional government, Hollande said.
The announcement comes after opposition groups agreed on Sunday in Doha to unite against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.