Sarkozy: Actions of Syria's Assad 'irreparable'
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared on Wednesday that the actions of Syrian strongman Bashar Al-Assad had caused "irreparable" damage to his rule and vowed to support his overthrow.
In his annual address to France's top diplomats, Sarkozy said France will do whatever is "legally" within its power in order to ensure a victory of Syria's pro-democracy movement over Assad's regime.
"The regime in Damascus wrongly believes it is safe from its own people," Sarkozy said, referring to Assad's ongoing battle to suppress pro-democracy street protests that have erupted in Syrian cities.
"What the Syrian president has done is irreparable. France, with its partners, will do all that is legally possible in order that the Libyan people's hopes for freedom and democracy are triumphant."
Sarkozy was making the speech on the eve of a Paris conference to mark the victory, with French and NATO military and diplomatic support, of Libya's pro-democracy revolution against Moamer Kadhafi's regime.
He made no threat to repeat France's Libyan military intervention in Syria, but made it clear Paris stands on the side of Arab peoples demanding freedom.
Meanwhile, in Syria, the crackdown continued, activists reported, with security forces carrying out arrests and setting fire to homes.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 people were arrested in Houle, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Homs, where the authorities sparked anger on Monday as they returned the bodies of 13 people arrested in early August.
The British-based Observatory said 360 civilians and 113 members of the security forces and army were killed during protests during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer which came to an end on Tuesday.
The civilians included 25 people under 18, 14 women and 28 who died in detention or under torture, mainly in the central province of Homs.
© 2011 AFP