France and Syria
War in Syria: understanding France’s position
France has been mobilizing since 2011 to find a solution to the Syrian conflict. Our position has remained unchanged and our priorities are still as follows:
1 - Make it possible to improve the humanitarian situation
2 - Resume negotiations so as to ensure a credible political transition
3 - Continue the fight against terrorism
On 19 December 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2328 on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo. This resolution, promoted by France, provides an initial response to the humanitarian emergency in the city. It should make it possible to implement the evacuation of civilians under United Nations supervision, guarantee immediate and unconditional access for humanitarian assistance to populations and ensure the protection of all health workers and facilities throughout the country.
The adoption of resolution 2328 follows up France’s action at the United Nations. France is permanently committed to gaining respect for international humanitarian law in Syria as reaffirmed in particular by Security Council resolutions 2254 (2015) endorsing a road map for a political transition, and 2258 (2015) aimed at facilitating cross-border and cross-line access by humanitarian agencies inside Syria.
- Resolution 2254 as posted on the United Nations website
- Resolution 2258 as posted on the United Nations website
Moreover, to avoid resigning ourselves to seeing the Security Council paralyzed when mass atrocities are perpetrated, since 2013 France has suggested regulating the use of the veto. France believes that the veto is not and cannot be a privilege: it involves duties and a special responsibility conferred by the Charter of the United Nations. The right of veto was granted to the five permanent members to foster cooperation among them to enable the United Nations to prevent and resolve international conflicts, ensure effective compliance with international law and protect civilian populations.
“France holds a constant position: the only solution to the conflict is a political outcome with a resumption of negotiations.”
As constantly affirmed by France, there can be no return to stability without a political process. This implies real negotiations and a credible political transition. The lack of a transition taking into account the aspirations of all Syrians in fact implies the prospect of a divided Syria inside which there will still be terrorist enclaves and where refugee flows to Europe will continue. It also implies the prospect of endless fighting.
Negotiations will have to take place between all parties – as provided for by the Geneva Communiqué and resolution 2254 (2015) – and be accompanied by the international community. They should include representatives of the regime and the opposition.
France is pursuing its diplomatic efforts to that end. On 10 December 2016 in Paris, it initiated a ministerial meeting of the Like-Minded Countries which reaffirmed, on that occasion, their support for resuming negotiations between the opposition and the regime. The so-called "like-minded" countries are those working towards a democratic transition in Syria and sharing the conviction that a political solution is the only way out of the crisis.
At the political level, France remains constantly committed to a transition to achieve a negotiated solution. It is also a question of effectiveness in fighting terrorism: maintaining the Assad regime encourages continued conflict and radicalization of the opposition, sustains refugee flows, destabilizes the region and prevents Syrians from working together to fight terrorism. France is therefore supporting the moderate opposition meeting within the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which has expressed its commitment to a political solution and to a free Syria.
At the military level, France has been carrying out Operation Chammal (in the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh) in Iraq since September 2014 and in Syria since September 2015. It carries out air operations, and provides advice and training to Iraqi and particularly Kurdish security forces. France is also providing support to the moderate groups fighting against Daesh in Syria.
Updated: december 2016