February 11, 2016 / 8:06 PM / 2 years ago

France's Hollande urges Russia to stop backing Assad

PARIS (Reuters) - 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

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