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With Violence Unabated, France Says Next Step For Syria Should Be Military

As the United Nations chief announced that the Syrian government was "in contravention" of an international peace agreement, France took a tougher stance.

The French foreign minister said that if the peace plan fails, the U.N. Security Council should consider a military option.

The AP reports:

"Alain Juppe's comments signaled that Paris is increasingly lining up behind a U.S. position laid out by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week. But the prospect of the Security Council backing military action in Syria is remote because veto-wielding members Russia and China are unlikely to go along. ...

"The French foreign minister demanded that 300 U.N. observers authorized to go to Syria be deployed within 15 days and said France has all but set a May 5 deadline for Damascus to comply with special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan."

Juppe added that the peace plan wasn't dead, but "it is severely compromised."

Since the conflict in Syria started more than a year ago, the U.N. estimates that 9,000 people have been killed.

The BBC reports that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "'deeply troubled' by the continued presence of heavy weapons and troops in Syria's cities as reported by U.N. monitors."

The BBC reports that activists put today's death toll at 70.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.