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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

France Calls for Humanitarian Zone on Syrian Border

RIA Novosti

17:27 02/03/2012 PARIS, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday called for a humanitarian zone to be built near the Syrian border to hold civilians fleeing the country’s ongoing violence.

"We will do nothing without a U.N. Security Council resolution," Sarkozy told a news conference at a European summit in Brussels, noting France supported the creation of a humanitarian zone close to one of Syria's borders.

"There's no question of acting directly or indirectly unless the Council has established legal conditions for a humanitarian zone, for arms delivery for the opposition or for corridors."

A humanitarian convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived on Friday to Homs, a center of ongoing protests against the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Al-Jazeera reported.

The ICRC suspended the evacuation of injured from Homs after it failed to reach a security agreement from both sides of the conflict. Humanitarian organizations were seeking entry to the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs, a stronghold of anti-government forces, which has been blockaded for the last 26 days.

Syrian troops, who almost retook control of Homs on Thursday, said they would allow the ICRC and Syria’s national Red Crescent society to deliver humanitarian aid to Homs and evacuate those injured.

A convoy of seven trucks carrying food, medicines and other first-aid and relief items has arrived to the area from Damascus.

"We are in Homs preparing to enter Baba Amro," Carla Haddad, the Geneva-based chief spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told journalists in Geneva.

Meanwhile, Leaders of the 27-member European Union repeated calls on Friday on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and stressed that the EU will increase its pressure on the Syrian regime to end the violence.

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said those responsible for the bloodshed and atrocities in Syria "will be held accountable." He also appealed to Russia and China to join the EU efforts to stop the violence in Syria and warned the two countries that it is "very dangerous for them to be isolated in the Arab world." Van Rompuy said the EU together with the Arab League are playing the lead role to end the crisis in Syria without military intervention.

Russia and China have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria that they believe could lead to a military operation against Syrian government forces as a repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”

Russia has also opposed calls to establish air corridors in Syria to provide humanitarian aid to civilian population suffering from the consequences of clashes between troops loyal to al-Assad and opposition forces.

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