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France reaffirms support for Syrian opposition but holds off on military action

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France reaffirms support for Syrian opposition but holds off on military action

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The French president Francois Hollande has met with the leader of the Syrian opposition coalition in Paris.

At a press conference he appeared to say France needed more time before deciding on military intervention.

However Hollande confirmed his support for the Syrian National Council and condemned the alleged chemical attack in residential areas near Damascus last week. He also added that the Syrian opposition needed more support from the west in order to be a credible alternative:

“Everything must be done for a political solution but this will only happen if the coalition is capable of looking like a real alternative,” Hollande said.

The leader of the opposition coalition, Ahmed al-Jarba had called for intervention after more than 1,000 civilians were killed in the attack.

Al-Jarba said: “At the moment, we say that this crime (chemical weapons) must be punished. It needs a strong international dissuasion by the allies of the Syrian people, and led by the French Republic. We also thank our other allies.”

The UN has called for more time for diplomacy and says its team of weapons inspectors will continue in Damascus until Friday before they publish their report.

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