France slams Assad’s accusation of supporting terror

Monitoring Desk

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday deemed “unacceptable” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s accusations that France supported terrorism.

Macron said that although reaching a lasting peace and political solution in Syria was necessary for all Syrians, it did not mean that “Syria is summarized in Bashar al-Assad”.

“Our military priority is the war against Daesh. We have been coherent since the beginning,” Macron told reporters at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris.

On Monday, after receiving a Russian delegation in Damascus, Assad told reporters:

“France has been the standard bearer of support for terrorism and their hands are soaked in Syrian blood from the first days and we do not see they have changed their stance fundamentally.”

The French leader insisted the U.S.-led international coalition was the only one capable to defeat Daesh in Syria by the end of February 2018.

“We have an enemy, it is Daesh  Millions of Syrians are living outside of Syria: in Jordan , Lebanon, Turkey, all around Europe, in Canada, in the U.S.

“Those Syrians have an enemy named Bashar al-Assad,” Macron said.

However, he added that “realistically” the presence of Syrian regime representatives was necessary at the peace talks.

Speaking earlier to reporters in Washington after meeting senior U.S. officials, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Assad lacked the capital to express “a political stance as long as he is dependent on Russia and Iran” to stay in power.

Le Drian added France was not going to take lessons from someone who had released thousands of extremist Islamist militants from prison to fuel the flames of the war.

“When you have spent your days massacring your own people, you should be generally a little more discreet,” Le Drian said.

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