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France

France sends military medics to Syria-Jordan border

media Syrian refugees are seen at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian … Reuters/Majed Jaber

French President François Hollande has ordered a joint military-civilian medical team to be sent to Jordan’s border with Syria. The move is part of a stepped-up effort to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad without direct military intervention.

“The military doctors and surgeons, along with civilian resources, will help the victims of fighting and refugees who are now fleeing conflict zones in Syria,” a presidential communiqué declared.

Combatants would not be turned away, diplomatic sources told the AFP news agency.

The UN refugee agency has counted 120,000 refugees in neighbouring countries, while France claims that there more than a million internally displaced persons.

France is increasing contact with the Syrian opposition and Arab League countries “in order to prepare the conditions for a rapid transition in Syria”, the Elysée statement said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius is to visit Jordan on 15 August and go on to other Middle East countries as part of a diplomatic offensive.

The defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who was reported to be in Jordan on Tuesday, shows “the weakening of a regime that uses more violence as it loses more support”, Fabius declared Monday.

“France is convinced that Bashar al-Assad’s regime is doomed,” he said.

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