Syrian President Bashar al-Assad greets supporters during a visit to the city of Raqqa. (File photo)
France says the developments in Syria have been unfolding against what Paris had hoped for, namely the fall of President Bashar al-Assad.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday, “Things are not moving. The solution that we had hoped for, and by that I mean the fall of Bashar and the arrival of the (opposition) coalition to power, has not happened.”
In December 2012, Fabius had said that the “end is nearing” for the Syrian president. However, he remarkably shifted his stance on the crisis in Syria, stating that the efforts to oust the Syrian government were not getting anywhere.
France became the first European country to recognize Syria’s opposition coalition on November 13, 2012. Paris said it would look into the issue of arming the militant groups in Syria.
The so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed in November 2012 with Western and Arab backing in Qatar after opposition groups signed a unity agreement to form a new leadership against the Syrian president under pressure from the United States, Qatar and the Saudi regime.
On November 16, 2012, Paris said the European Union’s arms embargo against Syria should be lifted so that France can supply weapons to the militants.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev censured the French government on November 26, 2012, for supporting the militants in Syria and said, “The desire to change a political regime in another state through recognition of some political force as the sole sovereign representative seems to me not entirely civilized.”
The turmoil in Syria erupted in March 2011.