Tag Archive: Bashar al-Assad

French forces strike in Syria

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ATTACK: French president, Francois Hollande, said the future of Syria cannot continue under the control of current leader, President Bashar al-Assad

ATTACK: French president, Francois Hollande, said the future of Syria cannot continue under the control of current leader, President Bashar al-Assad

Hollande approves attack for ‘safety’ of French and Syrian civilians

French fighter jets destroyed an Islamic State (IS) training camp last weekend in what was the European nation’s first attack on Syria.

On Sunday 27th September, air strikes were carried out in the eastern region of the war-torn nation to prevent IS forces from carrying out attacks against ‘French interests’ and to protect Syrian civilians.

Previously, France had only struck IS targets in neighbouring Iraq, whilst providing limited logistical support to Syrian rebels it considers to be moderate, including Kurds.

Speaking ahead of a United Nations General Assembly in New York, French President, Francois Hollande, confirmed the attack.

“France struck in Syria this morning [at] an Islamic State training camp which threatened the security of our country,” Mr Hollande told reporters.

The 61-year-old added that six fighter jets had destroyed their targets near the area of Deir ez-Noir and did not rule out the possibility of more operations being carried out in upcoming weeks.

France had initially feared strikes in Syria could be counter-productive and could strengthen President Bashar al-Assad, who has been fighting a rebellion against his rule since 2011.

However, following a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militants in France this year, including the killing of 12 people at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo publications, President Hollande and the French government have taken a stronger stance against the extremists.

In addition, Paris has become alarmed by IS gains in northern Syria and the possibility of France being sidelined in negotiations to reach a political solution in Syria.

A French diplomatic source added that Paris needed to be one of the ‘hitters’ in Syria - those taking direct military action - to legitimately take part in any negotiations for a political solution to the conflict.

Mr Hollande said he would support those efforts and France would hold bilateral meetings throughout the week with key players in the Syria crisis before a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Friday.

“France doesn't sideline anybody, but the future of Syria cannot pass through President Bashar al-Assad,” he said.

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There’s no stopping him

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A civil war, use of chemical weapons, and more than 100,000 deaths in three years are just some of the issues currently being faced by controversial Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, yet that doesn’t seem to deter the country’s leader from standing for re-election next year.

Mr Assad has been at the centre of some of the biggest debates of the year, yet a senior Syrian official has now warned that nobody has the right to stand in the way of a second term in office for the 48-year-old.

In an interview with AFP, Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad was responding to comments made from allied Russian officials criticising another term in office for the current leader.

“Nobody has the right to interfere and say he must run or he should not run,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said.

LEADER: President Bashar al-Assad will hold peace talks with a host of delegates in January 2014

LEADER: President Bashar al-Assad will hold peace talks with a host of delegates in January 2014

“President Assad in my opinion should be a candidate but he will decide when the time comes for him to decide.

“I shall ask the opposition: why a Syrian national does not have the right to be a candidate? Who can prevent him? Any Syrian national can be candidate. The ballot boxes will decide who will lead Syria.”

Russia earlier on Thursday issued rare criticism of its ally Assad over the presidential election scheduled for next year.

“Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

Mr Bogdanov added that Mr Assad, and all parties, should not do anything hasty before peace talks in Switzerland in January are commenced, which are aimed at ending the conflict which has been raging in Syria since 2011.

SUPPORT: Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad spoke of his belief that President Assad should stand for another term in office

SUPPORT: Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad spoke of his belief that President Assad should stand for another term in office

Mr Muqdad responded by explaining how his country has formed a nine-member delegation supported by five advisers to take part in the so-called Geneva-2 peace talks brokered by the United States and Russia.
“We are ready by all means and will announce the names of our delegation very quickly,” he said.

“We shall see the results of the discussions because the Americans are given the task of establishing an opposition delegation. The Americans are expected to give the names tomorrow.”

Muqdad also had harsh words for Saudi Arabia, which has supported rebels fighting to oust Assad.

“I think that if the world wants to avoid another 11 September incident, they must start telling Saudi Arabia ‘enough is enough’,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia should be put on the list of countries supporting terrorism,” said Muqdad, while rejecting opposition to the participation at the peace talks for Syria's ally Iran.

Mr Muqdad said: “It’s a tragedy that the French and the Americans are insisting that Iran will not attend while Saudi Arabia which is destroying Syria will attend...It is absolutely unacceptable.”

The peace talks are set to begin on the 22nd January 2014.

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