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France and Britain dismissed on Friday any suggestion of restoring relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying this would likely end all hope of a political transition and push moderates into the arms of radical Islamist groups. With the rise of Islamic State insurgents, some European |Union member states are critical of the position in Paris and London and say it might be time to re-establish communication with Damascus given that a four-year-old revolt has failed to overthrow Assad, diplomats say. In a column published in Arabic daily Al-Hayat and France's Le Monde, the French and British foreign ministers hit back at those who sought a rapprochement with Assad by saying he was using the fear of Islamic State, which has seized wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, to win back international support. "Some seem sensitive to this argument," Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond wrote.