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Published: Friday June 20, 2014 MYT 1:00:52 AM
Updated: Friday June 20, 2014 MYT 1:01:09 AM

Anti-Assad allies should boost support in light of Iraq - France

PARIS (Reuters) - Countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should boost support for groups fighting jihadists in light of the spiraling crisis in Iraq, France said on Thursday, offering to contribute to the effort.

France has so far agreed to provide non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition but has ruled out providing heavy weapons that could change the balance of power on the ground.

President Francois Hollande's office accused Assad in a statement of maintaining murky relations with terrorist groups, using them against the Syrian opposition instead of fighting them.

"The war he is waging against his own people has helped create a free range for terrorists between Syria and Iraq," the statement said.

"France therefore wants the Friends of Syria to reinforce and coordinate their support for the opposition fighting jihadist groups. It is ready to contribute."

(Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by James Regan)

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