France - Apr 19, 2012 - 12:21
Last modified: 19 Apr 2012 09:21
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of seeking to "wipe Homs from the map", comparing his campaign to the Libyan government's attacks on the city of Benghazi.
"Bashar al-Assad is lying in a shameful way, he wants to wipe Homs from the map like (former Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi wanted to wipe Benghazi from the map," Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio.
"The solution is the creation of humanitarian corridors so an opposition can exist in Syria," he said.
The French president and other Western leaders had cited the Gaddafi government's attacks on Benghazi as reason for the international community to intervene in Libya.
Sarkozy also said that the isolation of Russia and China on Syria "will not last" and that the two countries will eventually join the rest of the international community against Damascus.
"The Chinese and the Russians do not like being isolated," he said.
"And when we gather the major countries to say 'here is the direction we are going in', with our Arab allies, Russia and China's isolation on the Syria question will not last," Sarkozy said.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was to host 13 other foreign ministers for talks on Syria in Paris on Thursday, which France says will send a "strong" call to the government to abide by a peace plan.
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A handout picture released by the Shaam News Network (an anti-government activist group) on April 19, shows smoke ascending from a burning building in the restive Syrian city of Homs: