FRANCE’S AMBASSADOR to Syria says that his government has recalled him to Paris.
The move follows a number of attacks against diplomatic missions in Syria and the regime’s ongoing crackdown against political protest.
The French foreign ministry declined to comment on the recall, but the government’s spokesperson Valerie Pecresse said that France is working with opposition figures in Syria “to try to develop a political alternative” to the current regime.
The diplomatic missions of France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were attacked in Syria recently.
Relations between Turkey and Syria became particularly sour after the Turkish embassy in Damascus was attacked at the weekend. Yesterday, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan said that the future of Syria could not be “build on the blood of the oppressed”.
He also called for a joint suspension of joint oil exploration projects between the two countries.
The White House said it welcomed Erdogan’s “strong stance”.
The Turkish leader’s comments follow the King of Jordan’s calls for Assad to step down and engage in dialogue to “start a new phase of Syrian political life”.
Foreign ministers of the Arab League members are meeting today in Rabat, Morocco and are expected to formalise the group’s weekend decision to suspend Syria’s membership over the government’s violent crackdown on dissent. Syria is boycotting the meeting.
The UN says that 3,500 people have been killed since the protests began in mid-March.
Today, Syrian army defectors reportedly killed at least eight soldiers in a number of attacks. Defector attacks on members of the security forces have been escalating recently; over 30 soldiers were reported killed in an ambush yesterday.
Separately, dozens of protesters were also reported to have been killed yesterday in clashes with security forces.
- Additional reporting by the AP