France condemns Daesh’s murder of Syria antiquities scholar

Syria/murder of Khaled al-Asaad, former Director of Antiquities in Palmyra – Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

Paris, 19 August 2015

I condemn the murder by Daesh [ISIL] of Khaled al-Asaad, former Director of Antiquities in Palmyra.

The 82-year-old scholar had been in charge of the ancient site for 50 years and had worked with many French archaeological missions during his career.

I extend my condolences to Khaled al-Asaad’s family.

This barbaric murder is the latest in a long list of crimes carried out over the last four years in Syria. The perpetrators of all these acts must be brought to justice.

The only way to put an end to the conflict in Syria is through a political solution based on the principles of the Geneva Communiqué./.

Fight against terrorism/Daesh/Iraq/Syria – Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche

Paris, 23 August 2015


Q. – Some of the public still don’t understand why France is fighting Daesh [ISIL] in Iraq and not in Syria when the terrorist group is present in both countries…

THE MINISTER – Let’s be clear: Daesh are rapists and murderers. This week, among other atrocities, they beheaded the keeper of Palmyra, an 82-year-old man whose whole life was devoted to knowledge and peace. I knew him personally. But Daesh can’t decapitate history. The battle we’re fighting against the group must be implacable; it will be long.

I hear it said that because Daesh is a band of monsters, we should ally ourselves with Bashar al-Assad in Syria to defeat it. Serious mistake – firstly because Bashar and Daesh are two sides of the same coin. Bashar is a criminal in a suit and tie, but he’s a criminal against humanity largely behind the 240,000 deaths in his country, who again this week didn’t hesitate to kill about 100 innocent Syrians in the Damascus suburbs by bombarding them with barrels of dynamite.

Let me add that if we supported Bashar, it would lead to at least half of the country joining the ranks of Daesh in reaction. But we want a Syria that regains its integrity and where everyone’s rights are respected. That’s why we’re working for a political solution supported by the UN, including not only regime elements, without Bashar, but also the moderate opposition, without the terrorists. Unfortunately, Bashar’s allies – essentially Russia and Iran – haven’t really budged so far. (…)./.

Published on 24/08/2015

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