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Hollande calls for force after meeting Syrian opposition leader

French President Francois Hollande (R) and  and SNC chief Ahmad Jarba (L) at the Elysée Palace
French President Francois Hollande (R) and and SNC chief Ahmad Jarba (L) at the Elysée Palace Reuters/Michel Euler
2 min

President François Hollande repeated France's call for "necessary force" to "punish" Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons after a meeting with Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad al-Jarba at the Elysée presidential palace on Thursday morning.

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"Everything should be done to reach a political solution", Hollande told a press conference after meeting Jarba, but, if that does not work, "an alternative with the necessary force" must be found.

Earlier government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem that the proposed action would be "difficult to develop" because "states like Russia and China pose a certain number of problems".

Moscow and Beijing oppose action against the Assad regime, with Russia blocking a British-backed resolution to the UN Security Council.

The SNC leader called for Assad to be tried at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

"Chemical Bashar has massacred our people on August 21. He must not escape the punishment he deserves," he told Le Parisien newspaper.

Jarba also wanted more than the currently proposed "punitive" strikes, calling for "political and military support" to be given to the opposition Free Syrian Army.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday called for weapons inspectors to be allowed to carry out their investigation into the chemical attack near Damascus before action is taken.

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