Macron: Assad remaining in power would be 'fatal error'

By Hajer M’tiri

PARIS (AA) – A return to normalcy in Syria that left its leader Bashar al-Assad in power would be a "fatal error" as the situation there is nearing its "hour of truth", French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

"France can't appoint future Syrian leaders…But it is our duty and our interest to ensure that the Syrian people are able to do this," Macron said in his second speech at the annual Ambassadors' conference in Paris.

He nevertheless emphasized that he had never insisted on Assad’s resignation in exchange for rendering humanitarian aid to the country.

Macron also warned that Assad was on the verge of creating a new humanitarian crisis in Idlib province, the last stronghold for rebel and jihadist groups in Syria.

"The situation is alarming…The [Syrian] regime shows no willingness to negotiate any political transition."

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict, according to the UN.

The French leader also unveiled his country’s foreign policy to around 250 ambassadors attending the conference and stressed the four priorities he fixed last year — security, common goods, France's global attractivity and Europe.

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