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Subject BREAKING NEWS:France to give heavy artillery to Syrian rebels to 'smash' Assad regime
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The French auhorities is supplying heavy artillery to the Syrian rebels to help them fight President Assad's forces.

France has started helping rebel-held parts of Syria so these "liberated zones" can run themselves and is considering the possibility of supplying heavy artillery to protect them from government attacks, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

Paris said last week it had identified areas in the north, south and east that had escaped President Bashar al-Assad's control, creating a chance for local communities to govern themselves without residents feeling they had to flee Syria.

"In zones where the regime has lost control, such as Tal Rifaat (40 km north of Aleppo), which has been free five months, local revolutionary councils have been set up to help the population and put in place an administration for these towns so as to avoid chaos like in Iraq when the regime pulls back," the source said.

The source said France, which last week promised an extra 5 million euros ($6.25 million) to help Syrians, had started giving aid and money on Friday to five local authorities from three provinces - Deir al-Zor, Aleppo and Idlib. The areas are home to about 700,000 people.

Civilians in rebel-held parts of Syria have suffered frequent deadly air strikes from Assad's forces and questions have been raised on how Paris proposes to protect civilians and deter them from fleeing to neighbouring countries.

The source admitted some areas still faced sporadic bombardments from Syrian forces, but there was little prospect of them falling back into government hands. He said people in these areas had asked for anti-aircraft weapons.

"It's a subject that we are working on seriously, but which has serious and complicated implications. We aren't neglecting it," the source said.

No-fly zones patrolled by foreign aircraft could protect rebel-held areas, but there is little chance of securing a U.N. Security Council mandate for such action, given opposition from veto-wielding members Russia and China.

European powers have also said they will not supply weapons to lightly-armed Syrian rebels, who have few answers to attacks by Assad's planes and helicopter gunships. However, the source implied there may be a shift in Paris' thinking.

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