French President Emmanuel Macron says 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.”
Speaking in an interview with France 24 television on Sunday, French President Macron said Assad would be staying in power because Iran and Russia had “won the war on the ground.”
“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,” Macron said.
Macron nevertheless called Assad “an enemy of the Syrian people” who “will have to respond to his crimes before his people, before the international courts.”
The French president, who has sought a bigger role for France on the international scene, said his government would want to “build a political solution” to the crisis in Syria, including by bringing the government and opposition to the negotiating table.
He said he wanted 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.
This is while the Syrian government and opposition have already been negotiating, indirectly, in two separate processes.