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Syria Opposition
Syria Opposition

Syrian Opposition & World Community

(DP-News - agencies)

While France is encouraging Syrian opposition groups to get organized, Moscow calls for an end to violence in Syria including those rising up against al-Assad`s regime.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday that France is encouraging Syrian opposition groups to get organized but remains opposed to outside military intervention to stop violence against civilians.

Opponents of President al-Assad’s government in the Syrian diaspora have so far struggled to form a unified front because of internal divisions along ethnic, sectarian and religious lines.



The Istanbul-announced Syrian National Council, formed last month and based in Paris, is the foremost opposition group, bringing together people ranging from exiled dissidents to grassroots activists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“They still need to get organized,” Juppe told French BFM radio. “We have had contacts with them ... in any case we are helping them, we are encouraging them to get organized.”

Juppe repeated that France was opposed to any foreign military intervention in Syria.

Juppe met SNC president Burhan Ghalioun in Paris last month, shaking his hand in a symbolic display of support, but stopped short of granting his movement official recognition from France.

France, which recalled its ambassador from Syria on Wednesday in protest against attacks on French missions there, was the first Western power to recognize Libyan rebels in March.

Ghalioun, visiting Moscow on Tuesday, urged Russian leaders to join the international chorus calling for Assad to resign. Russia said opponents should hold talks with Syria’s government.

For its Part, Moscow calls for an end to violence in Syria including those rising up against al-Assad`s regime.

The Syrian security forces’ violent suppression of demonstrators opposed to President Bashar al-Assad has killed some 3,500 civilians over the past eight months, according to UN estimates.

But; Syrian army deserters, unwilling to obey orders to crush mainly peaceful protest demonstrations, have recently banded together and begun an armed insurgency.

On Wednesday they attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus in a high-profile assault that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said was “similar to real civil war.”

Russia said the world community should call on all sides in Syria including the opposition to stop violence, saying the Arab League's recent peace plan for Syria should be made more "concrete."

"The Arab League's position on the necessity to stop violence -- irrespective from where it comes -- needs to be made detailed and more concrete," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

"For the realisation of the Arab League initiative, we propose that all the states that are concerned about the peaceful resolution of the events in Syria call not only on the Syrian authorities to stop violence but also all opposition groups, without exception."

"This should be done both on behalf of the Arab League and those countries whose territory the opposition is working from," Lavrov said.

"There are more and more weapons that are being smuggled in from neighbouring countries," Lavrov said.

"Today I saw a television report about some new so-called rebel Free Syrian Army organising an attack on the government building, on the building belonging to Syria's armed forces," he told reporters.

"This was quite similar to a true civil war."

Moscow, a key ally of Damascus from Soviet times, has refused to back Western calls for sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and repeatedly blamed the Syrian opposition for the unrest in the country.

Syrian army defectors known as the Free Syrian Army attacked a military intelligence base just outside Damascus on Wednesday in one of the most daring raids by the opposition in eight months of unrest.

Lavrov told reporters earlier this week that arms were smuggled into Syria from Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and "obviously other countries."

"No-one disputes these facts although few comment on them," he said. "Armed extremists are using peaceful protesters."

China and Russia vetoed attempts to push a resolution condemning al-Assad’s government through the UN Security Council last month, but three Western powers - France, Britain and Germany - are calling for a vote in the General Assembly on Tuesday to condemn the violence.

Several Arab states may join the non-binding call after the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and said it was studying possible economic sanctions.

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