Turkey, France call for int’l pressure on Assad

Turkey, France call for int’l pressure on Assad

Turkey, France call for int’l pressure on Assad

Syrians living in Turkey chant slogans as they wave Turkish and Syrian flags protesting against the Assad regime after Friday prayers during a demonstration in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul on Nov 18 2011. AFP photo

Turkey and France on Nov. 18 called for greater international pressure on Syria to end the bloody crackdown on opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

Calling on the U.N. Security Council to act against Assad’s regime, “The time has come to increase sanctions,” a French official said.

“It is not normal that the [U.N.] Security Council has not made any decision so far. I hope those blocking any resolution will be aware of the reality of the situation,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Nov. 18, referring to China and Russia.

In a visit to Turkey’s capital ahead of a tour of Arab states, Juppe and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reviewed their countries’ policies on Syria to align efforts to increase pressure on Damascus and unite Syrian opposition.

Turkey proposed France to urge the Christian community in Syria, which has taken Assad’s side throughout the uprising, to participate in the Syrian opposition, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned. Ankara briefed the French official on the Syrian National Council’s willingness to include the Syrian Christian community.

France, along with Germany and Britain, is attempting to pass a resolution to condemn Syria at the U.N. General Assembly Human Rights Committee in a bid to increase pressure on Russia and China for a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions.

“We are against unilateral intervention, if an intervention is implemented, the decision should be made by the U.N. This has been France’s opinion all along,” Juppe said at a news conference in Ankara.

Davutoğlu reiterated more international pressure was needed on Syria to bring an end to the bloodshed. Asked whether Turkey would support a no-fly zone over Syria, Davutoğlu said the most important proposal right now was the Arab League’s plan to send an observer delegation to Syria. However, there might be a need to enforce some measures, especially economic sanctions, if Syria maintains its crackdown on civilians, he said.

Yet, Juppe said he had “doubts” that the Syrian regime would approve an Arab League proposal to send observers to the country.

Juppe said there was a need to strengthen sanctions on Syria that could include more economic sanctions over Syria’s and certain individual’s assets within the EU.