Bilateral relations

Combating Daesh

France is one of the main contributors to the military action of the international coalition against Daesh, and has been carrying out Operation Chammal within the framework of the coalition 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 Arab-Kurdish security forces. France is also providing support to the moderate groups fighting against Daesh in Syria.

Political action

At political level, our position as regards Syria remains clear and consistent: only genuine political transition can resolve the crisis and reduce extremism in the long term. The international community (via the Geneva communiqué, as well as United Nations Security Council resolution 2254) is calling for the creation of a transitional governing body before the adoption of a new constitution and then elections. For inter-Syrian negotiations to lead to political transition in line with the wishes of the international community, the cessation of hostilities must be observed and it must be possible to freely deliver humanitarian aid to all populations in need. France and its partners are calling on the supporters of the regime to meet their commitments to that end. The transition must maintain the existing institutions and bring together members of the moderate opposition and the regime.

This is not merely a question of ethics – as the United Nations has noted, the crimes perpetrated by the Syrian regime could be considered war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is also a question of effectiveness: maintaining the Syrian regime, which has refused any overture after over six years of conflict, encourages continued conflict and radicalization of the opposition, sustains refugee flows, destabilizes the region and Europe and prevents Syrians from working together to fight terrorism.

It is therefore in order to support this transition process that France is supporting the opposition, centred around the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which, unlike the Syrian regime, has entered into negotiations in good faith under the auspices of the UN.

France calls on the regime’s supporters to shoulder their responsibilities by applying pressure in order to:

  • encourage the implementation of a political transition;
  • enforce the ceasefire;
  • allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need and stop attacks against civilians.

Humanitarian action

Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011, France has provided €243 million of assistance in response to the crisis (within Syria and in neighbouring countries). During the London Conference in February 2016, it committed to provide €200 million more over the period 2016-2018, including €75 million in 2017.

Combating impunity

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, France has supported the Syrian people in their fight for a free and democratic, united and stable Syria that is respectful of all its citizens and guarantees minorities’ freedoms and rights. France supports the efforts of the United Nations to implement a political transition founded on the Geneva Communiqué and Security Council resolution 2254.

France works in New York and Geneva to publicize the excesses committed by the regime. It supports the work of the Pinheiro Commission of Inquiry that accused the regime of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and is active within the UN Human Rights Council, whose resolutions condemn the tragic human rights situation in Syria and the crimes committed by Daesh and highlight the responsibility of the Syrian regime.

The violent situation in Syria led the French President to announce the closure of France’s Embassy in Damascus on 2 March 2012, which was effective on 6 March that year. On 29 May 2012, in the framework of a joint initiative between several Western countries, France declared the Syrian ambassador and other diplomats personæ non gratæ.

Following the 4 April 2017 chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime in Khan Sheikhoun, France dispatched emergency humanitarian assistance to the victims of the attack and the health care workers treating them. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, also presented the national assessment proving the use of sarin gas and the responsibility of the Syrian regime on 26 April 2017.

Visits and events

Multilateral events

  • Meetings of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People in Tunis (24 February 2012), Istanbul (1 April 2012), Paris (6 July 2012), Marrakesh (12 December 2012), and New York, in the presence of the President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Mr Ahmed Al-Jarba (26 September 2013);
  • Ministerial meeting in Paris in the presence of Mr Burhan Ghalioun (19 April 2012);
  • Ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council, chaired by France (30 August 2012);
  • Meeting in support of the Civilian Revolutionary Councils in Syria (17 October 2012);
  • International meeting in support of the Syrian National Coalition (28 January 2013);
  • Meetings of the Syrian Core Group in Rome (28 February 2013), Istanbul (20 April 2013), Amman (22 May 2013), Doha (22 June 2013), London (22 October 2013, 7 March 2014 and 15 May 2014) and Paris (12 January 2014);
  • Informal “Arria-formula” meeting of the Security Council, at the instigation of France and Spain, on the barrel bombs dropped by the regime (26 June 2015);
  • Ministerial meeting of like-minded countries in Paris (14 December 2015);
  • European Union “Supporting Syria and the Region” Conference in London (3-4 February 2016);
  • Ministerial meeting on Syria, chaired by Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, in the presence of Mr Riyad Farid Hijab, representative of the Syrian opposition (9 May 2016);
  • Ministerial “Quint” meeting in London (19 July 2016);
  • Ministerial meeting of like-minded countries in London (10 October 2016);
  • Ministerial meeting of like-minded countries in Paris (10 December 2016);
  • European Union “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” Conference in Brussels (5 April 2017).

Bilateral events

  • Meeting of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr Alain Juppé, with Mr Burhan Ghalioun in Paris (23 November 2011);
  • Meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, with Mr Abdulbaset Sieda in Paris (9 October 2012);
  • Visit to Paris by Mr Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib; received by the French President, Mr François Hollande, and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius (17 November 2012);
  • Meeting in Paris of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, with Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States (16 May 2013).
  • Meeting in Paris of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, with the members of the International Commission of Inquiry into Syria (30 May 2013);
  • Meeting in Paris of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, with Mr Ahmed Al-Jarba, President of the Syrian National Coalition (13 September 2013);
  • Meeting in Paris of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, with Mr Ahmad Tu’mah, Prime Minister of the Syrian Interim Government of the Syrian National Coalition (5 September 2013);
  • Visit to Paris of Ms Taghrid Al-Hajali, Minister of Culture and Family of the Syrian Interim Government; received by the Ambassador for Syria, Mr Éric Chevallier, and by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, Mr Jean-François Collin (29-30 April 2014);
  • Meeting in Paris of the French President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs with Mr Ahmed Al-Jarba, President of the Syrian National Coalition (20 May 2014).
  • Meeting of the French President with Mr Hadi al-Bahra, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (September 2014);
  • Visit to Paris by Mr Khaled Khoja, President of the Syrian National Coalition (March 2015);
  • Meeting in Paris of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development with representatives of Aleppo Local Council in Paris (6 June 2016).

Updated: 3 May 2017

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