France joined Turkey in calling for greater international effort to exert pressure on Syria to stop its bloody crackdown on protesters, as at least 15 more people were reported killed on Friday, reports The New York Times.
At the same time, Syria made its first response to a proposal by the Arab League to send a delegation of more than 500 military and civilian observers to the country, but critics said it appeared to be a stalling tactic.
The Arab League chief, Nabil al-Araby, said he received a letter from Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, asking him to amend the proposed plan. "These amendments are currently being studied," Mr. Arabi said.
On November 2, Syria said it had agreed to an Arab League-brokered plan, underwhich it would halt all violence and withdraw armed forces from civilian areas, but the bloodshed continued, prompting the league to vote last weekend to suspend Syria. The proposal to send observers effectively delayed the suspension, and the current back and forth appears to push it back further.
Activists said that three people were shot in Irbin, a town on the outskirts of Damascus; two were shot in Homs and three in Hama, two of the most restive cities in central Syria. At least seven protesters were also killed in the southern city of Dara'a, from where the uprising against Mr. Assad broke out in mid-March.
On Friday, Syrian state television said that three soldiers were killed and an officer was critically wounded in a bomb blast in Hama, a restive city in central Syria.
France's foreign minister, Alain Juppé, on a visit to Ankara, Turkey, on Friday, called the situation "no longer sustainable."
Speaking at a news conference alongside his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, Mr. Juppé also called on the Syrian opposition "to avoid recourse to an armed insurrection," saying, "A civil war would of course be a true catastrophe." He was referring to the rise of attacks by Syrian army deserters, which include a pair of attacks this week on sites associated with the Syrian government.
Asked whether France would support military action by Turkey, including the entrance of forces to establish a kind of buffer zone as the opposition has proposed at various times, Mr. Juppé answered that any military action, no matter by whom, would have to be approved by the United Nations.
Read more of this report from The New York Times.