AFP - French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that the use of armed force could be possible in Syria following the Houla massacre, but that it had to be carried out under UN auspices."I will talk about it with President (Vladimir) Putin when he comes to Paris on Friday. He, along with China, has been the most reluctant on the question of sanctions. And we must convince them that it is not possible to allow the Assad regime to massacre its own people," said the new French leader who took office on May 15.
"An armed intervention is not excluded on the condition that it is carried out with respect to international law, meaning after deliberation by the United Nations Security Council," Hollande said in a television interview.
France on Tuesday expelled the Syrian ambassador as did other world powers in protest over the killing of at least 108 people, nearly half of them children, during an assault by regime forces last week near the town of Houla.
"We also have to find a solution that would not be strictly military. Pressure must be applied now to get rid of the regime of Bashar al-Assad," Hollande added.
He also called for stronger sanctions and the need to talk with Damascus ally Russia.
"I could not fail to react to this massacre in Syria," Hollande said, stressing that his decision was taken in concert with other heads of state.
Paris also announced that it would host a new meeting of the Friends of Syria group in July, which Hollande said would help organise the Syrian opposition so it "can take over from the regime."
UN envoy Kofi Annan warned Tuesday that Syria was "at a tipping point" after talks with Assad in efforts to rescue his troubled peace plan that was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12 that has never taken hold.