France will not stay silent on Syrian 'scandal': Sarkozy
President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Friday that France cannot stand silently by and allow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to put down the pro-democracy revolt in his country.
"We cannot accept the ferocious repression by the Syrian leadership of its people, a repression that has led the entire country into chaos, and a chaos that will help extremists of all kinds," he said.
In March last year Assad's regime was rocked by a popular uprising, part of the so-called Arab Spring pro-democracy revolts sweeping the region, and his security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown.
At first he faced mainly unarmed mass street protests, but armed rebel groups including army deserters have now sprung up as well.
Last month under mounting international pressure, Assad agreed to allow observers from the Arab League monitor the crisis, and pledged to send his troops back to their barracks.
But the violence has continued.
Human Rights Watch said on Thursday that Syrian activists report that 506 civilians have been killed by security forces and a further 490 detained since the observers arrived.
© 2012 AFP