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Hollande hosts Syrian opposition for talks

French President Francois Hollande welcomed the head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Ahmad Jarba, to Elysee Palace on Thursday for talks as the international community weighs up intervention in the increasingly bloody conflict. They shook hands on the steps of Elysee Palace and then paused for cameras to shake hands again just before entering the building and sitting down in front of media. An apparent chemical gas attack which killed hundreds in the suburbs of Damascus last week has prompted international outrage and the United States and its allies have held President Bashar al-Assad's government responsible for the incident. After the meeting, Hollande said a political solution must remain the focus for Syria but that could only happen if the international community can halt the killings and better support the opposition to Assad.

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