Syria - Q&A - Excerpts from the daily press briefing (05.10.18)

Q : Hello. Ms. Merkel and Mr. Erdogan implied that there could be a Russian-Turkish-French-German summit in the coming weeks to talk about Syria. When and where could such a meeting take place? What is your view of the Turkish-Russian agreement on Idlib?

A - France is pursuing two immediate objectives with respect to the situation in Idlib: to avoid an offensive by the regime and its allies, which would cause a humanitarian, migratory and security crisis with intolerable consequences for the region and for Europe; and to create the conditions for reviving a political process, which remains the only path toward a sustainable resolution of the Syrian crisis.

For that purpose, France is working to prevent an attack on that area, which houses 3 million civilians, whether within the UN Security Council; alongside Germany, Turkey, and Russia at the quadrilateral meeting of September 14 in Istanbul; or by reiterating its determination to respond harshly to the use of chemical weapons by the Damascus regime. In this regard, France calls for all parties to fully abide by the Sochi agreement, especially the Damascus regime and its allies, and for it to provide a guarantee of a lasting ceasefire in the Idlib region.

Furthermore, France is calling for the constitutional committee formed under the auspices of the UN to be convened in a timely fashion, as underscored in the joint declaration published after the Small Group ministerial meeting held at France’s initiative on September 27 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. It underscored this demand at the quadrilateral meeting of diplomatic advisors in Istanbul and is hoping it can count on the full support of Russia and the Astana guarantors for the launch of this committee nine months after the Sochi conference that announced its establishment.

France is committed to establishing the conditions for a rapprochement among the most influential countries with a view to resolving the Syrian crisis, particularly the Small Group and the Astana Group, which must guarantee a just and lasting political solution to the Syrian crisis consistent with Resolution 2254.

Q - What is France’s reaction to the deployment of Russian S300 missiles in Syria?

A- France is concerned by Russia’s delivery of sophisticated anti-aircraft capacities benefiting the Syrian regime.

This delivery comes a few days after a serious incident caused by the Syrian anti-aircraft defense that took the lives of 15 Russian soldiers.

Amid regional tensions, Russia’s delivery of such equipment is contributing to the risk of a military escalation and to undermining prospects for a political resolution to the Syrian crisis.