Priority in Syria remains fighting the terrorist threat, says Minister

Fight against Islamist terrorism – Reply by M. Marc Fesneau, Minister for Relations with Parliament, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpts)

Paris, 8 October 2019

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In Syria, the fall of the last strongholds of Daesh [so-called ISIL] unfortunately does not mean the end of the war. In the north-west, the bloody bombardment of Idlib is continuing. In the north-east, information concerning a possible unilateral military operation by Turkey is extremely worrying on the humanitarian level, but also because of the consequences of any offensive on collective efforts to combat terrorism. Daesh has not disappeared, but it has gone underground since its territorial defeat.

Politically, the United Nations Secretary-General’s announcement of an agreement on the formation of the constitutional committee is a long-awaited first step which should pave the way for a genuine political process.

In all the areas recaptured by the regime, the atrocities it is committing are the main obstacle to the return of refugees. In the course of the next three years, we’ll be devoting more than €1 billion in loans and donations to these refugees and those hosting them, particularly in Lebanon and Jordan.

Faced with this situation, France is conducting a realistic and resolute policy overall.

The priority remains to continue the fight against the terrorist threat, for the sake of our national security.

We call on Turkey to avoid an initiative which would go against the interests of the Global Coalition against Daesh, of which it is a member. (…)

In addition to the military operation, the stabilization of the north-east is an essential part of governance involving all the partners.

The parameters of a solution exist, both there and elsewhere. They are, in particular, the constitutional committee’ work for a vision of the constitution and the next national elections.

On this basis, it’s up to the countries capable of influencing the crisis, and other crises, to shoulder their responsibility, just as France is doing./.

Published on 10/10/2019

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