Paris acknowledge Russia and Iran won the war
In a rare admission of reality on the ground, France, despite being part of the US led coalition has realized that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will continue to stay because opponents have lost the war.
According to France-24 TV, President Emmanuel Macron has said that the reality in Syria is that President Bashar al-Assad will continue to stay in power because his opponents have lost “the war on the ground.” He was speaking to the network in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
“Bashar al-Assad will be there,” he said. “He will be there because he is protected by those who have won the war on the ground, whether it’s Iran or Russia,” he said.
This is considered to be a major shift in French foreign policy. Paris has been opposing Assad government and desired to see him removed. During the Sunday interview French president reiterated that his country’s number-one priority in Syria is not regime change. Until now Paris avoided explicitly admitting the reality on the ground in Syria.
He predicted the IS would be crushed in Syria by February pushing for Syrian government and opposition to come together for fresh peace talks early next year. “And I think that by the middle to the end of February, we will have won the war in Syria,” he said.
Macron described President Bashar al-Assad as “an enemy of the Syrian people”, but insisted: “We have to speak to Assad and his representatives.” He expressed his desire to see “a process emerge at the start of next year with Assad’s representatives, but I hope also representatives of all of the opposition.”
“France’s plan is to win peace, demine the country (Syria), to demilitarize it and build a political solution that will allow a durable peace — which means all minorities being protected, Christians, Shias, and Sunnis,” Macron said.
He underlined that France’s top priority as part of the US-led coalition pounding IS is “the extermination” of the jihadist group rather than ousting Assad, which has been the country’s official stance since June.
However, Macron said, Assad “will have to respond to his crimes before his people, before the international courts”.
More than 340,000 people have killed in Syrian war since 2011. Daesh (IS), which once controlled substantial areas, now holds just a few patches in the country.
On December 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the three-year war to expel terrorist group which at its height held roughly one third of the country.
French President had recently hosted Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, after he announced his resignation in Riyadh, while he travelled to Paris and Cairo before returning to Beirut. On his return he withdrew his resignation.