France said Friday that Russia was “not attached” to the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who they “clearly see is as a tyrant and a murderer.”
The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio this morning that talks were ongoing on Syria’s future in the event its president is ousted, adding that Russia was sensitive about who might take his place.
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“The discussion is about that," Fabius said, adding that France was considering supplying Syria’s rebels with communications equipment.
The comments come after Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the United States had held constructive talks with Russia on the violence in Syria – following earlier accusations that Russia had sent attack helicopters to Syria.
Clinton confirmed that talks with Russia were ongoing, after her deputy, Bill Burns, met with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of a conference in Afghanistan, Agence France Presse reported.
Clinton told a news conference: “We don't see eye to eye on all of the issues, but our discussions continue."
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Syria on Friday denied its government had received attack helicopters, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, activists said another 52 people had been killed in violence across Syria Thursday – and called for another day of protests against the government of Assad.
United Nations officials have urged immediate action from the international community to protect civilians in Syria, CNN reported.
In a joint statement Thursday, the Special Advisers of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect, Francis Deng and Edward Luck said:
"With the increasing violence and deepening sectarian tensions, the risk of further mass atrocity crimes is high. The time for action is now."
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A diplomatic source told AFP that the opposition Syrian National Council, the Kurdish National Council, and smaller anti-Assad groups were due to meet Friday and Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey, in a renewed effort to settle divisions.
The meeting comes after the SNC earlier this month appointed the Kurdish activist, Abdel Basset Sayda, as its general secretary.