PARIS French President Francois Hollande on Thursday called on Russia to stop harming civilians in Syria and reiterated calls for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.
"I ask that the Russian actions stop because we have thousands of people displaced by the bombardments," Hollande said in a televised interview after a cabinet reshuffle in France. "We have to ensure that Bashar al-Assad leaves power."
He said that Assad was massacring his people, helped by Moscow. Hollande praised his new Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, as an experienced former prime minister suited to take over France's work in Syria, replacing Laurent Fabius.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Ingrid Melander)