France to host Syria meeting against ‘total war’

PARIS: A high-level meeting of countries refusing the "logic of total war" in Syria will be held on Dec. 10 in Paris, France's foreign minister announced Wednesday.

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

"I will be meeting on December 10 in Paris, the European countries, the Arab countries and the United States, which support a political solution in Syria and refuse this logic of total war," Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters as after leaving the weekly meeting of France's Council of Ministers.

"It is time for the international community to wake up because, before our eyes, a tragedy is taking place," he added.

"We are not the accomplices of [Syrian leader] Bashar al-Assad; we are not complacent to him," Ayrault continued.

'Safe corridor'

Ayrault also met the president of Aleppo's local council, Brita Hagi Hasan, on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the Syrian city.

Hasan urged the international community and the Syrian government to set up a safe corridor to help civilians leave the besieged city.

He said "250,000 civilians living in Aleppo could be killed.

"We ask that civilians are allowed to leave eastern Aleppo," Hasan told a news conference held with Ayrault.

Ayrault, who called on Tuesday for an urgent UN Security Council meeting on Aleppo, said the Security Council members should agree on concrete measures to save civilians.

Scorched-earth policy

On Tuesday, at least 51 civilians were killed and scores injured in regime airstrikes on eastern Aleppo.

Since mid-November, more than 739 civilians have been killed -- and hundreds more injured -- in regime attacks on eastern Aleppo, according to figures released by local civil defense officials.

Syrian regime forces have recently stepped up attacks on opposition-held parts of eastern Aleppo in an effort to retake the city and advance on Idlib, one of the Syrian opposition's last strongholds.

"There is no motion in Aleppo as a result of the scorched-earth policy pursued by the Syrian regime and its allies to colonize Aleppo," Hasan said.

He also saluted Turkey's efforts to fight Daesh, saying Operation Euphrates Shield had liberated dozens of villages from the terror group.

Operation Euphrates Shield, launched in late August by Turkey, aims at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the terror threat along Turkey's border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.

UK response

Meanwhile in London, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said the UN Security Council should press Russia to stop aggression in Aleppo.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Question's in the House of Commons, May said:

There's an important message to send to Russia that they use their influence with the Assad regime to stop these appalling atrocities in Aleppo and let aid through."

May also said the U.K. had been working with France to bring forward an emergency discussion at the UN Security Council.

We want to see a cessation of hostilities, we want to see an opportunity for humanitarian aid to have access to Aleppo and we will be pressing for that at the Security Council, she said.

*Busra Akin Dincer contributed to this story from London.

Source: Anadolu Agency