France says days are numbered for Syria regime

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday that time was running out for the regime in Syria after the Arab League agreed sweeping sanctions against Damascus over its deadly crackdown on protesters.

"Its days are numbered, that is obvious. It is totally isolated today," Juppe told France Info radio, while acknowledging that efforts to try to stem the bloodshed in Syria were moving slowly.

"Things are going slowly unfortunately... but they are advancing since the Arab League, which carries considerable political weight, has just decided on some sanctions which will isolate the Syrian regime a bit more."

Supporters of Lebanon's anti-Syrian opposition wave the old Syrian flag during a rally in the northern city of Tripoli on November 27, 2011 to denounce the Syrian regime and its Shiite ally Hezbollah.

He also voiced hope that the idea of humanitarian corridors had not been ruled out for Syria, where well over 3,500 people have been killed since protests erupted in March.

Last week, Juppe said France would ask its EU partners to consider setting up protected escape routes for Syrian civilians fleeing the regime of Bashar al-Assad but later said such a move would have to either be agreed by Damascus or come under an international mandate.

"We have done this in other situations and it is the only way in the short term to ease the plight of the population," he said Monday.

The United Nations said at the weekend that international help was needed to feed 1.5 million people in crisis-torn Syria, but that humanitarian corridors were not yet justified.


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