Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said that the “neutralisation” of Syria President Bashar al-Assad was a pre-condition to resolving the crisis in the war-torn country.
- Syria President Bashar al-Assad, has said he is confident he has the continuing support of key allies Iran and Russia.
French President Francois Hollande laid out three conditions for resolving the crisis. First of which was the “neutralisation” of Assad, second was to offer “solid guarantees to all the moderate opposition forces and final condition, which he said would be “decisive”, was to bring together regional actors with a stake in the conflict.
“We must reduce the terrorist influence without maintaining Assad. The two are bound up together,” Hollande said. “We must create a political transition in Syria, it’s a necessity.”
According to Syria President Assad the Syrian government would not reject such an alliance, though it made no sense “that states which stood with terrorism would be the states that will fight terrorism”. He was referring to governments including Turkey and Saudi Arabia that have backed insurgent groups fighting to topple him in the brutal four-year-long civil war that has killed an estimated 250,000 people and shattered the country.
“A small possibility remains that these states decided to repent, or realized they were moving in the wrong direction, or maybe for reasons of pure self-interest, they got worried that this terrorism is heading towards their countries, and so they decided to combat terrorism,” Assad said. “We have no objection. The important thing is to be able to form an alliance to fight terrorism,” he said.
Bashar Hafez al-Assad is the President of Syria, commander-in-chief of Syrian Armed Forces, General Secretary of the ruling Ba’ath Party and Regional Secretary of the party’s branch in Syria. In 2000 he succeeded Hafez al-Assad, his father, who had led Syria for 30 years until his death. Assad graduated from the medical school of Damascus University in 1988, and started to work as a doctor in the army. Four years later, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specializing in ophthalmology. In 1994, after his elder brother Bassel was killed in a car crash, Bashar was recalled to Syria to take over Bassel’s role as heir apparent. He entered the military academy, taking charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 1998. In December 2000, Assad married Asma Assad, born Akhras. Assad was reconfirmed by the national electorate as President of Syria in 2000 and 2007, after the People’s Council of Syria had voted to propose the incumbent uncontested each time. The form of government Assad presides over is an authoritarian regime. The Assad regime has described itself as secular, while experts have contended that the regime exploits ethnic and sectarian tensions in the country to remain in power. The regime’s narrow sectarian base relying upon the Alawite minority has also been noted.
Initially seen by the domestic and international community as a potential reformer, this expectation ceased when Assad ordered mass crackdowns and military sieges on Arab Spring protesters, leading to the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian opposition, the United States, Canada, the European Union and the majority of the Arab League have called for al-Assad’s resignation from the presidency. During the Syrian Civil War, Assad was personally implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations, and was the top of a list of individuals indicted for the greatest responsibility in war crimes for prosecution by the International Criminal Court. In November 2014, the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced that evidence would be brought against Assad. In January 2015, it was reported that 200,000 political prisoners were in jail in Syria for opposing the Assad regime. In late April 2014, Assad announced he would run for a third term in Syria’s first multi-candidate direct presidential election in decades, amid serious concerns by the European Union, the United States and other countries regarding the legitimacy of this vote and the effect it would have on peace talks with the Syrian Opposition. He was sworn in for his third seven-year term, on July 16, 2014, in the presidential palace in Damascus.IMAGE/AP