Conflict & Justice

France recalls Syria ambassador as US considers aid operation


Eric Chevallier, France's ambassador to Syria, appears in this photograph posted to the website of the French foreign ministry in 2008.

Joining the US and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, France has recalled its ambassador from Syria in protest against the violent suppression of the anti-government uprising in that country, according to The Associated Press.

The French government also said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “days are numbered,” according to the news agency.

Due to the obstruction of Russia and China at the UN Security Council on Saturday, the world body has been unable to adopt a resolution calling for an end to the violence and a political transition in the counry.

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Reuters also reported today that US officials said they were considering mounting a humanitarian relief operation.

According to the news agency, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was quoted as telling reporters that the US was not considering arming the Syrian opposition but said: “We are exploring the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians."

"We are going to continue to work with international allies ... to put the pressure required” on al-Assad to leave, Carney was quoted as saying.

French authorities say that the Syrian violence has cost the lives of 6,000 people in the last 11 months and that, like the US, they are working to establish an informal coalition of countries opposed to the crackdown.

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"We will not give up," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was quoted as saying during a foreign affairs debate in the Senate. "We have two objectives: to intensify the pressure on the countries that use their veto and to add pressure on the Syrian regime which is discredited. Its days are numbered and the veto in New York is not a blank check to continue” the killing.

"It is not true that there is a regime that represses on one side and terrorists on the other side. This is a regime that is carrying out one of the most savage suppressions that we've seen," the AP quoted him as saying.