Arab League Backs Syrian Rebel Bloc

France on Tuesday became the first European nation to back the coalition of Syrian opposition forces, following in the steps of the Arab League, which on Monday called the bloc the "legitimate representative" of the country. Opposition groups in Qatar announced on Sunday they had put aside their differences and created a broad-based coalition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The coalition has pledged to set up a transitional government after gaining international recognition. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said late on Monday that the organization will defend alliance member Turkey if Syrian fighting spills over the border. Rasmussen also welcomed the new coalition.