France Calls for Humanitarian Corridors in Syria

France is in talks with other countries and international organizations about the possibility of setting up “humanitarian corridors” in Syria that will be used to deliver aid to parts of the country heavily affected by the government’s crackdown of the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

“France, working in liaison with all her partners, is determined to take action to help the stricken people and step up measures aimed at protecting the civilian population, which for months has been the victim of the regime’s increasingly violent crackdown,” France’s foreign ministry said Nov. 24 in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in an interview with a French radio station that he had proposed the idea with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and officials of the United Nations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Juppe added that he would also bring up the possibility of establishing humanitarian corridors in an upcoming meeting with foreign ministers of the Arab League.

Juppe said there are two ways the humanitarian corridors for aid convoys can be set up: negotiations with the Syrian government and through an international mandate, the Daily Star notes.

The European Union has agreed that the protection of Syrian civilians who want to escape Assad’s rule “is an increasingly urgent and important aspect of responding to the events in country.” But the bloc stopped short of endorsing Juppe’s proposal of corridors for aid delivery, according to The Associated Press.

Assad and his government are under increasing international pressure to put an end to the brutal crackdown on demonstrators, which the Untied Nations said has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people since March.

The Arab League has already suspended Syria and is looking at implementing sanctions for failing to comply with the peace plan it signed. The plan seeks the withdrawal of government troops from towns and cities and for dialogue between the government and the opposition, the Los Angeles Times says.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.