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France

Syria slams France as hostile nation after opposition ambassador invitation

media French President François Hollande leaves the Elysée with National Coalition … Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Syria accused France of “acting like a hostile nation” after President François Hollande’s announcement that his government will recognise a representative of the opposition as the country’s ambassador to Paris.

"France is acting like a hostile nation," Syrian National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar told the AFP news agency on a visit to Tehran.

Recalling the French mandate in Syria after the break-up of the Ottoman empire, he declared, "It's as if it wants to go back to the time of the occupation." 

France is the only Western power so far to recognise the Syrian National Coalition as the representative of the Syrian people and on Saturday Hollande met coalition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib and declared that the group would name Syria’s ambassador to France.

France "seeks to speak on behalf of the Syrian people, but our people do not attach any importance to this action," Haidar said.

Haidar was speaking as Iran, a key ally of Bahsar al-Assad’s regime, prepared to host talks between Syrian officials and some opposition groups.

But he confirmed that the coalition, which refuses to enter talks unless Assad leaves power, had not been invited.

Israeli artillery responded early on Sunday after gunfire from Syria hit an army vehicle on the Golan Heights but caused no casualties, Israel's military said.

Opposition sources abroad reported heavy fighting in Aleppo and government bombardment in Damascus on Sunday, as well as clashes in Daraa in the south and Deir Ezzor in the east

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