French FM Wants Withdrawal of Hezbollah From Syria

Wednesday, 07 Feb, 2018

Le Drian was asked about his position on the Turkish army's invasion of northern Syria along Turkey's border, and answered that he wants "the withdrawal of all of those who should not be in Syria, including the Iranian militias, including Hezbollah".

French foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian has said French citizens who fought with Islamic State before being arrested in Syria or Iraq will be tried by local authorities.

Speaking on BFM television, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said there were indications Syrian government forces were using toxic gas against civilians although the United Nations would need to confirm that.

U.S. officials and experts have also warned of inroads made by Russian Federation and Iran in Syria, creating further instability in the region, a reality now exacerbated by the Turkish-led offensive against their allies on the ground, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.

"In a unsafe situation in Syria, (Turkey) should not add war to war", it added.

France has backed the Syrian opposition during the seven-year war and is part of the US -led coalition fighting Islamic State militants. "It is violated by those who attack Eastern Ghouta and those who attack Idlib", Le Drian said. His remarks amount to France's toughest line yet on Turkey's involvement in the Syrian conflict.

The minister stated that France would only interfere in those French jihadists' trials in Kurdish courts that result in a death sentence. Le Drian has accused Iran of harbouring "hegemonic" aspirations in the region.

"All indications. tell us today that chlorine is being used by the regime at present in Syria", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television.

Shortly after taking office past year, French President Emmanuel Macron said chemical attacks in Syria would be a "red line" for France.