France and Britain dismissed on Friday any suggestion of restoring relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying this would likely end all hope of a political transition and push moderates into the arms of radical Islamist groups.
Syrian leader Bashar Assad cannot “credibly” be part of any future government combating the threat from the Islamic State (IS) group in the country, Britain and France said Friday.
Assad is “stoking injustice, disorder and extremism” in Syria, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius wrote in a joint editorial published by newspapers Le Monde and Al-Hayat.
They claimed that Assad is seeking to rehabilitate his public image despite a conflict in Syria which has lasted nearly four years, killed at least 210,000 people and displaced nearly 12 million others.
“For our own national security, we have to defeat ISIL (IS) in Syria. We need a partner in Syria to work with against the extremists and this means a political settlement agreed between the Syrian parties leading to a unity government in Syria,” the editorial said.
“It is clear to us that Assad could not credibly be part of any such administration.” The editorial added that most Syrians would not accept Assad as part of the solution to the conflict. “Proposing Assad as a solution to the extremists is to misunderstand the causes of the extremism,” it said. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al Hayat Newspaper)