France Offers Right To Asylum To Protesting Syrian Refugees

The moves, aimed chiefly at fixing weaknesses in short-and medium-haul flights and cargo, were announced today to union representatives. The targets are 582 cuts at Pariss Charles de Gaulle airport and 128 at the secondary Orly airport, 591 at French provincial airports and 282 in freight, the units chief executive officer, Frederic Gagey, said in a statement. Transform 2015 is working and our initial efforts are beginning to pay off, Gagey said in the statement, referring to the carriers restructuring plan. We need to continue and intensify our actions. Todays disclosures were the first details on how Air France would reach a goal of shedding 2,800 jobs as Europe s economic slump drags the unit toward a sixth straight annual loss. Gagey and Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac are trimming frequencies, shifting flights and extending cuts initiated earlier. The airline said it still has 350 more pilots than it needs and 700 more cabin crew, and measures to deal with that over-staffing will be presented later. Air France announced 5,100 job cuts last year. The Air France unit wont make a profit this year, the company announced Sept. 18. The Paris-based parent company, helped by better performance at KLM, still expects an operating profit for 2013. To contact the reporters on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at ; Andrea Rothman in Toulouse at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Jasper at ; James Hertling at

“The immigrants want to hold discussions with the British authorities.” Myrian Guerey, a member of the Secours Catholic charity service who served as a mediator between the refugees and the French authorities, said the Syrians — still set on making it to Britain — were “very happy” about the talks. “They have been heard and they want to have a first contact with the British authorities,” she said. In a bid to end the crisis, some 50 police from the CRS anti-riot squad moved in early Friday to try and clear the refugees from the footbridge but backed off when two of them climbed on top of a nearby building and threatened to jump off if they approached. Pas-de-Calais prefect Robin then went to the site and offered the Syrians, currently illegal immigrants, the right to asylum. “Today, the Syrians present here are caught in a stalemate. What we can do is to offer them a status on French territory…in other words to make a request for asylum,” Robin told reporters. He said each demand for asylum had “95 percent chance of success,” adding that he was in contact with the British embassy in Paris. “We cannot take any decision on their access to Britain,” Robin said. “I am not persuading them to settle in France but trying to legalise their status.” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has pledged to fast-track the applications of Syrians seeking asylum. But the protesting refugees, most of whom arrived a month ago in Calais, have voiced disappointment at the way they were treated in France. “We thought that France was the country where human rights are respected,” said Tarik, a 19-year-old from the southern city of Deraa near the border with Jordan. “But we live outside like dogs, hunted down by the police, we see we are not welcome, how can we seek asylum here?” he said.