French President Francois Hollande met with a Syrian Coalition delegation headed by President Khoja in the French capital Paris. The delegation also included Interim Prime Minister Ahmed Tomeh, Interim Defense Minister Salim Idris and Syrian Coalition members Michel Kilo, Burhan Ghalioun, Salah al-Darwish and Munther Makhos.
The French President said that the Syrian Coalition is the sole representative of the Syrian people, and France stands with the Syrian Interim Government and supports its efforts to serve the Syrian people, and will continue to increase their support for the Syrian people at the political, military and economic levels. President Hollande also said that Assad is the main cause of his people’s suffering and for the rise of terrorist groups. He is therefore not a credible interlocutor to fight ISIS and prepare Syria’s future.
Following the meeting, president Khoja said that we and France consider that Bashar al-Assad is the root cause of terrorism and the problem, not part of the solution, pointing out that the Assad regime has aborted efforts of the UN envoy de Mistura to relaunch peace talks. He added that de Mistura’s plan does not live up to the level of a comprehensive plan to address the situation in Syria.
The Syrian Coalition delegation also said that the Assad regime has lost control of three-quarters of Syria’s territory, while the remaining quarter is under direct Iranian occupation. The delegation called on France to urge the United Nations to act effectively to confront this occupation which threatens Syria and the region as a whole.
Khoja highlighted the suffering of Syrians resulting from the Assad regime’s use of passports as a weapon against the citizens, and asked France to work with the United Nations to find a solution the problem of passports. Khoja also calls for putting pressure on the Lebanese authorities for the protection of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to put an end to the violations committed by some parties in Lebanon against the Syrian refugees.
Interim Prime Minister Ahmed Tomeh called on the French government to provide direct support for the interim government in the fields of health, education and local administration to better serve Syrian civilians in the liberated areas.
Interim Defense Minister Major General Salim Idris briefed the French side on the military situation and demanded support for the formation a national army capable of tipping the military balance on the ground. (Source: Syrian Coalition)