US Pledges $30M More in Syria Aid
France formally recognizes opposition coalition
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2012 8:03 AM CST
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Australian Minister of Defense Stephen Smith in Perth, Australia, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

(Newser) – Two pieces of good news this week for the newly-formed Syria opposition coalition: France became the first Western country to officially recognize it as the only valid representative of the Syrian people, and the US pledged $30 million in humanitarian aid. Hillary Clinton pledged the additional aid today at a summit in Australia, bringing the US total to $200 million, the AP reports. But, though the US recognizes the coalition as legitimate, Clinton stopped short of calling it the only representative of the Syrian people. The US is pleased with the newfound organization among Syria's long-divided rebels, but Clinton noted, "Now we want to see that momentum maintained."

"As the Syrian opposition takes these steps and demonstrates its effectiveness in advancing the cause of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Syria, we will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the Syrian people," she continued. Six Gulf states formally recognized the coalition Monday. As part of France's recognition, President François Hollande said it would consider arming the opposition group "as soon as it is a legitimate government of Syria," the New York Times reports. Also today, Turkey warned it would retaliate against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces if they violate its airspace, the AP reports. Syrian forces have been launching airstrikes against rebel-held towns on Turkey's border since Monday, and two grenades have reportedly hit houses in Turkey.