France could cooperate with Syria against DAESH post Assad

French foreign minister says French cooperation with Syrian Army might be possible if regime leader Assad leaves power

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrives at the Planalto Palace before a meeting with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday in an interview on French RTL radio that France can cooperate with Syria against DAESH terrorism in the country “only in the context of a political transition.”

“There must be two measures: bombings... and ground troops who cannot be ours, but who should be of the [opposition] Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab forces, and why not regime forces too," Fabius said.

After the interview Fabius clarified his comments saying, "The cooperation of all Syrian forces, including the Syrian army, against DAESH is obviously welcomed, but, as I have constantly said, it will only be possible in the framework of a political transition."

The French FM statement was welcomed by the regime in Damascus whose crackdown on protesters in 2011 led to a civil war which has claimed the lives of over 300,000 Syrians and displaced millions of others.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Fabius' statement was "better late than never."

"If Fabius is serious about working with the Syrian Army and dealing with the forces on the ground that are fighting DAESH, then we welcome that," Muallem said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Previously Fabius called Assad a "butcher" who is killing own people and repeatedly said that Assad must go - the sooner the better.

Russian Foreigm Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) speaks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius (R) during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 26, 2015 / Photo by AFP

Following the November 13 Paris attacks by DAESH which claimed 130 lives, France intensified its air strikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa, a DAESH stronghold.

"For us it is one of the main military targets, even the main one, because it is the nerve centre of Daesh, and the attacks against France were planned from there," Fabius said.

In addition, French President Francois Hollande has made diplomatic trips to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia in order to reach a consensus against DAESH.

In his diplomatic trips, Hollande clearly stated the message "France’s real enemy in Syria is DAESH."

Hollande in his Moscow visit said that "What we agreed, and this is important, is to strike only terrorists and DAESH and to not strike forces that are fighting terrorism," referring to moderate Syrian opposition forces.

"We will exchange information about whom to hit and whom not to hit," said Hollande.

"Assad has no place in the future of Syria."

However, regime leader Bashar al Assad is backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strong ally of Assad, and Russian air strikes in the the country have mainly targeted opposition forces, rather than DAESH positions, according to the United States and NATO.

"I believe that the fate of the president of Syria must stay in the hands of the Syrian people," Putin said.

TRTWorld and agencies