Q – What are the next steps planned by France and Turkey in their project to develop a diplomatic roadmap for Syria? Is the meeting of like-minded countries announced by President Macron during the visit by his Turkish counterpart to Paris still planned for February in Turkey?
A – France and Turkey regularly discuss the Syrian crisis at every level. These discussions also relate to the Turkish operation under way in Afrin, in regard to which France has called on Turkey to exercise restraint.
Only a political solution consistent with UN Security Council resolution 2254 is capable of ensuring Syria’s stability and Turkey’s security. We intend to work closely with Turkey, a key country in this regard, as well as with other “like-minded” countries.
Q – Was the red line set by President Macron crossed in recent days, following reports of repeated chlorine and sarin chemical attacks in Syria?
A – France is concerned by several reports of the repeated use of chlorine against civilian populations in Syria in recent weeks. We and our partners are carefully studying the information that reaches us and are awaiting expert assessments from operational international investigative mechanisms, and first and foremost, that of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).
It is still early at this stage to confirm the chemical nature and scope of these attacks.
France is committed to preserving the chemical non-proliferation regime. In this capacity, on January 23 it launched an international partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Twenty-four states and organizations signed on to demonstrate their rejection of impunity for the perpetrators of chemical attacks.
Syria is by far the most troubling theater in this regard. The Syrian armed forces have been acknowledged as responsible by international mechanisms and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Syrian regime and its backers must abide by all of their international commitments in this area.