News / Middle East

France Urges International Support for Syrian Opposition

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (r) and Syrian National Coalition vice-president Riad Seif attend a press conference during the International support meeting of the Syrian National Coalition in Paris, Jan. 28, 2013. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (r) and Syrian National Coalition vice-president Riad Seif attend a press conference during the International support meeting of the Syrian National Coalition in Paris, Jan. 28, 2013.
x
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (r) and Syrian National Coalition vice-president Riad Seif attend a press conference during the International support meeting of the Syrian National Coalition in Paris, Jan. 28, 2013.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (r) and Syrian National Coalition vice-president Riad Seif attend a press conference during the International support meeting of the Syrian National Coalition in Paris, Jan. 28, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
France urged Western and Arab nations meeting in Paris on Monday to make good on pledges to support Syria's opposition, warning that failure to do so would play into the hands of Islamist extremists. Talks also included senior members of the Syrian National Coalition.

After pledging millions of dollars in aid and other assistance to the opposition Syrian National Coalition, France says the international community must now deliver.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued that blunt message as he opened a meeting of the two groups in Paris.

Fabius said representatives of the 50 countries meeting in the French capital have the responsibility to strongly support the opposition coalition. Otherwise, he warned, they risk extremist fighters in Syria gaining ground. He said the international community cannot allow a peaceful uprising to degenerate into a clash among militia groups.

Since its formation in November, the Syrian opposition coalition has gained the backing of more than 100 countries. But not all have followed up on assistance pledged at a meeting in Marrakesh last month.

Besides representing the Syrian people, the coalition, Fabius said, is also critical to delivering humanitarian aid.

Concerns about the growing clout of Islamists in Syria were underscored Monday when an al-Qaida-linked group, Jabhat al-Nusra, took responsibility for a suicide bombing committed the week before.  But foreign governments have been slow to assist the moderate Syrian coalition because it is perceived to lack cohesion.

But coalition Vice President Riad Seif says time is short. He says funding is needed to set up an interim government and to protect so-called "liberated zones" held by the rebels.

Syria's 22-month uprising has killed more than 60,000 people and uprooted millions of others. Still others have disappeared, and many Syrians urgently need humanitarian assistance.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Russia - once perceived as a staunch ally of the Syrian regime -  does not support the Assad government or any other party in the conflict.

His comments came a day after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Assad made a potentially "fatal" error by delaying democratic reforms demanded by Syria's opposition.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 29, 2013 12:54 AM
Absolutely! It's about time, better late than never. The people of Syria, every man, woman and child should bear arms to defend themselves. This is not fair what Bashar has been getting away with. The people deserve a way to defend themselves at least. I think there may be less deaths and this whole ordeal could be over faster if they had the arms to do so. 100,000 armed people knocking on Bashars front door of his hideout would be a game changer.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid