France Demands End to Syrian Army 'Terror' in Homs

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France on Friday roundly condemned the latest clampdown on Syrian dissidents in the city of Homs where pro-regime gunmen have killed dozens, saying the army should protect rather than "sow terror."

"France condemns with the most extreme firmness the continued repression carried out by the Syrian authorities which continue, in a headlong rush to nowhere, to daily arrest and kill their own people," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told journalists.

"France expresses its deep concern for the (central) city of Homs and its population where repression has killed dozens of civilians. Terror still reigns in Homs, surrounded by the Syrian army."

Activists say pro-regime gunmen have killed at least 22 people in Homs since Monday, including seven mourners at a funeral.

Syria's third-largest city, Homs has spearheaded demonstrations against Assad and his regime since protests erupted on March 15.

Fierce fighting rocked the city at the weekend, with activists reporting more than 30 people killed in clashes among Christians, Sunni Muslims and President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite community.

The army had already entered the city in May in a bid to stop rallies calling for the fall of the regime.

"The Syrian army must be aware that its first duty is to protect its countrymen and the stability of the country not to sow terror among civilians," Valero said.

"The army and other security forces must know that they will have to account for their actions."

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