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Syria warns world against recognition of opposition, even as it alienates Kurds (VIDEO)

Damascus faces a double threat: growing international support for the Syrian National Council and the prospect that Syria's Kurd population could join the opposition's ranks.

By Staff writer / October 10, 2011

Syrian opposition members speak during a news conference in Stockholm Monday, following a weekend gathering of the Syrian opposition at the Olof Palme center in Akersberga, north of Stockholm. Pressure on Syria is increasing as Western countries recognize the opposition government. France announced that it now recognizes the opposition government, though Russia and China continue to support the Syrian government.

Fredrik Sandberg/AP


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Syria's uprising could be poised for major strides forward both internationally, as a result of France's announcement that it will recognize the opposition government, and domestically due to the assassination of a Kurdish opposition leader.

French recognition would be the first international recognition for the Syrian National Council, which was formalized last month, while the death of Mashaal Tammo could push the Kurds, who have previously stayed out of the fray, into the opposition's camp.

Russian newspaper RIA Novosti reports that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at a European Union meeting Monday that France welcomed the opposition's attempts to organize and intended to establish relations with the council.

Watch video of President Bashar Assad's government telling Latin American government leaders not to back the opposition movement:

Mr. Juppe's comments came after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem warned Sunday against any international recognition of the council, threatening "strict measures" against any country that did, The New York Times reports. No country has recognized the council yet.

Mr. Moallem also warned that Syria could opt to stop providing protection for European embassies in Syria in retaliation for attacks on Syrian embassies across Europe over the weekend. Protesters stormed the Syrian embassy in Berlin, as well as Syrian diplomatic missions in Germany and Switzerland, and attempts were thwarted in Vienna and London.

Internationally, Syria retains the support of Russia and China, who both vetoed a recent UN Security Council resolution targeting the Syrian government and are now offering to propose a more "balanced" resolution of their own, according to Lebanon's The Daily Star. Moscow said this weekend that it expects to host delegates from the Syrian National Council later this month in an effort to help along negotiations between the Syrian government and the group.


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