The Syrian opposition have united under a new leader: cleric Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.
France has given the group its support - betting that this new coalition will help bring down the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Just a dozen years ago, then-French President Jacques Chirac was the only Western leader to attend the funeral of Bashar al-Assad's father. The Assad family belongs to the sect known as the Alawites, a group that was actually empowered in Syria by French colonialists.
CNN's Hala Gorani looks at France's long and complicated history with Syria.