DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:40) – French president Emmanuel Macron has officially accepted reality in Syria, and has stated that France is willing to face the fact that President Bashar al-Assad will remain in power of the Syrian Arab Republic.
In an interview with France 24 television on Sunday, Macron admitted that the reality is that the Syrian government has won the war, with support from his allies.
“Bashar al-Assad will be there. He will be there because he is protected by those who have won the war on the ground, whether it’s Iran or Russia,”
This marks a change from former Paris policy, in which France was hoping to remove the Syrian government from power through support of the rebel and terrorist organisations that have been waging war against Syria since 2011. Although France had been coming around for a while now, stating at several occasions that regime change was no longer its priority, Sunday’s speech by Macron marks the first time that a French head of state explicitly acknowledges reality on the ground.
Nevertheless, Macron still stated he believes president Assad to be “an enemy of the Syrian people”.
“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,” the French president said.
Macron has been trying to increase the role of France on the international level since his election in May 2017, stating he hopes 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,” with French mediation.
However, at the time present, Syria is already involved in no less than two separate peace processes. On of those, the Astana Talks mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey, have achieved significant progress in setting up de-escalation zones and achieving long-lasting ceasefires and even disarmament in much of Syria.