5 killed in Syria; France opposes unilateral action

Tougher sanctions needed, says Juppe; Turkish FM calls for pressure on Damascus to stop bloodshed.

November 18, 2011 13:28
2 minute read.
Juppe and Davutoglu

French, Turksih Foreign Ministers Juppe and Davutoglu_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Syrian security forces shot dead at least five anti-government protesters Friday as French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he opposed any unilateral intervention in Syria and any such move should be mandated by the United Nations.

The security forces  also wounded dozens when they fired live ammunition to disperse protests against President Bashar Assad after Friday prayers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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Among those killed was a 14 year-old protester in the southern city of Deraa. The rest of the deaths occurred in the Damascus suburb of Erbin, the central city of Homs and the countryside of the city of Hama to the north, said the Observatory.

Arab League gives Syria 3 days to stop bloodshed

Meanwhile, Juppe said that tougher sanctions are needed and stated that Syria and France are ready to work together with the Syrian opposition.

The French foreign minister, who was speaking at a news conference in Ankara alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, added that he doubted whether Syria would respond positively to an Arab League peace plan proposal.

Davutoglu said pressure on Syria needed to be escalated to stop the bloodshed.

France, Britain and Germany planed to ask the UN General Assembly's human rights committee to approve a resolution condemning the violence in Syria, before putting the non-binding measure to a vote in an Assembly plenary session.

Syrians took to the streets on Friday to call for the international community to expel its Syrian ambassadors.

The rally, called "Expel Ambassadors Day," is meant to further isolate Damascus in the international community following its expulsion from the Arab League.

"Ambassadors for a mafia regime - they are not ambassadors. They do work which does not involve diplomatic work. They start with security work: spying on Syrians abroad. They investigate and extort in order to practice their business trade, legitimate and illegitimate." the Syrian Revolution 2011, a main organizing group of the uprising, said on their Facebook page.

Assassinations and arrests have been rampant in Syria as the military cracks down on protesters calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to go.

Prof. Abul Khair Muhammad Farhan was assassinated Thursday evening by Syrian security forces, witnesses told Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Witnesses said that Farhan was shot to death by security elements who fired from a "government vehicle," Dubai-based Al Arabiya reported.

Farhan, who was a professor at the Homs Law College, was a leading figure in the opposition against Assad, according to Al Arabiya.

Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council, called for a calming of sectarian tensions between Alawites and majority Sunni Muslims, especially in the restive city of Homs.

"We have seen in the last few weeks kidnappings, assassination and score-settling among members of the same people, even from within the sons of the revolution, which poses a dangerous threat to the gains of the revolution and offers a big service to the regime," he said in a statement.

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