France called on the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government to prepare for the demise of Bashar al-Assad’s regime as fighting intensified in the civil conflict.
“France asks the Syrian opposition to constitute a provisional government that is inclusive, representative, that can become the legitimate representative of the new Syria,” French President Francois Hollande said today in a speech in Paris to his nation’s ambassadors. “France would recognize the provisional government once it has been formed.”
Hollande turned up the pressure on Assad amid escalating violence. Syrian rebels said today they shot down a government helicopter over the capital Damascus. Aug. 25 was the bloodiest day since the uprising began 17 months ago, with 440 people reported dead by the opposition Local Coordination Committees. More than 23,000 lives have been lost, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates.
Hollande said he favors establishing liberated zones in Syria and that the opposition there should form a transitional government. He said France is working with Arab governments to prepare the shadow Syrian government.
Separately, he said it is “unacceptable” that Iran develop nuclear weapons.
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