France convenes meeting to discuss worsening Syria crisis

The meeting is convened after the Syrian regime launched a fresh offensive last week to recapture entire Aleppo resulting in deaths of over 340 civilians.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A boy stands amid the damage in the opposition-held besieged al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria November 23, 2016.

France has convened a meeting of countries friendly to Syrian opposition early next month to discuss worsening crisis in Syria, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday.

Ayrault said he had invited "countries who are friends of Syrian democracy and of the democratic Syrian opposition" to the French capital.

The minister said the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Turkey would attend, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

He said the international community "must stop averting its gaze" from the "terrible reality" of what was happening in Syria, especially in the besieged city of Aleppo.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault leaves the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, November 23, 2016.

"It is urgent that we react," Ayrault added.

But he did not say what the planned meeting might achieve to tackle five years of conflict which have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half of Syria's population.

Syrian regime forces backed by Russia are currently pushing into Aleppo as the regime attempts to recapture the entire city.

Regime forces have pounded the area with air strikes and barrel bombs as ground troops advance, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At least 340 civilians, including several children, have been killed in the city's east since the latest assault began on November 15.

On Monday, the UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council that the humanitarian crisis was worsening in Syria as nearly six million Syrians live in hard-to-reach areas including one million people in besieged areas.

TRTWorld and agencies