France: No sign that Assad will be out of power soon

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Associated Press

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 6:34 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — France's foreign minister is suggesting that the fall of Syria's Bashar Assad isn't going to happen anytime soon.

France has been one of the strongest supporters of rebels fighting to force Assad out. But the French official told reporters today that "there are no recent signs" pointing to Assad's downfall.

Today, Syrian warplanes have been bombing rebel areas near the capital. Activists say at least 13 people were killed in the bomb attacks and clashes in a number of Damascus suburbs.

Assad's troops and opposition fighters have been battling for control of the road linking Damascus to the country's largest airport.

Conditions in Damascus have worsened, with prices for basic goods rising and fuel in short supply. In a sign that the hardship is even reaching the families of Syria's leadership, U.S. officials said today they believe Assad's sister and mother have left the country.

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224-r-22-(Sound of jets flying overhead, then explosions, from amateur rooftop video purportedly of missile strikes on the Damascus suburbs)--Sound of aircraft flying overhead, then explosions, purportedly from air strikes on the Damascus suburbs. COURTESY: SHAM News Network ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((The video from which this audio was taken was provided by SHAM News Network, a loosely organized anti-Assad group. It is consistent with AP reporting but cannot be absolutely authenticated.)) (24 Jan 2013)

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223-r-25-(Sound of incoming missile and exploson followed by a second missile, from amateur rooftop video purportedly of missile strikes on the Damascus suburbs)--Sound of incoming missiles and explosions purportedly from government air attacks on the Damascus suburbs. COURTESY: SHAM News Network ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((The video from which this audio is taken was provided by SHAM News Network, a loosely organized anti-Assad group. Its content is consistent with AP reporting, but cannot be absolutely authenticated.)) (24 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *223 (01/24/13)>> 00:25

APPHOTO CAI109: In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises from buildings due to heavy shelling in Daraa, Syria, on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) (24 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO CAI109 (01/24/13)>>

APPHOTO CAI106: In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after warplanes shell the town of Jobar, in Homs, Syria, on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) (24 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO CAI106 (01/24/13)>>

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