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Macron Sees February End to Fight Against IS in Syria

Macron Sees February End to Fight Against IS in SyriaMacron Sees February End to Fight Against IS in Syria

The military campaign against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Syria should be completed in February following the end of fighting against the militant group in Iraq, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

“On December 9, Iraqi Prime Minister (Haider al-) Abadi announced the end of the war and the victory over Daesh, and I think that by mid- to late February we will have won the war in Syria,” Macron said in a broadcast interview, using the Arab acronym for IS, Reuters reported.

France would now push for peace talks involving all parties in the six-year-old Syrian conflict, including President Bashar al-Assad, Macron told France 2 televisions, promising “initiatives” early next year.

“France’s plan is to win peace, de-mine the country, to de-militarize it and build a political solution that will allow a durable peace –which means all minorities being protected, Christians, Shiites and Sunnis,” Macron said.

Despite being a leading backer of the Syrian opposition, France has sought a more pragmatic approach to the Syrian conflict since the arrival of President Emmanuel Macron, saying that the departure of al-Assad was not a pre-condition for talks.

“Bashar al-Assad will be there,” Macron said, adding that “He will be there because he is protected by those who have won the war on the ground, whether it’s Iran or Russia.”

Assad’s government is backed by Russia and Iran. President Vladimir Putin last week announced a significant scaling back of Russian forces in Syria, saying their mission was largely complete.

 

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