PARIS - France said on Tuesday it recognizes Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, becoming the first European nation to do so.

Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in Doha on Sunday to form a broad coalition to overthrow President Bashar Assad after 20 months of an uprising against his rule.

"I announce today that France recognizes the Syrian National Council as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and as future government of a democratic Syria allowing to bring an end to Bashar Assad's regime," French President Francois Hollande told a news conference in Paris.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger