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Hollande: Russian intervention won’t save Assad


PARIS – Russia’s military intervention in Syria will not save President Bashar al-Assad, French President Francois Hollande said Friday after an EU summit called for a political transition to a new leader.

“It is very clearly stated that Bashar cannot be the future. We must go as fast as possible to a political transition,” Hollande told a press conference after the summit in Brussels.

“Russia’s intervention from this point of view can bolster the regime but will not save Bashar,” he added.

Russia said Thursday its warplanes had eased back on air strikes in Syria as regime forces pressed a widening ground offensive against rebels.

The latest strikes targeted Damascus, Idlib, Hama, Deir Ezzor, and Aleppo provinces.

The Kremlin said the goal of the aerial operation that Russia launched in Syria on September 30 was to help Assad’s beleaguered forces fight the jihadist group Islamic State.

Russia’s entry into the conflict has raised fears of a potential confrontation with the US-led coalition that began air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq more than a year ago.

More than 245,000 people have been killed in Syria since fighting broke out in March 2011, and more than four million have fled their country.

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