Hollande, and the “Moderate Opposition,” demand a stop to Russian strikes in Syria


Sputnik France, February 12, 2016

Translated from French by Tom Winter*

French President Francois Hollande on Thursday demanded an end to Russian Russian airstrikes in Syria, strikes which support, according to him, Bashar al-Assad who “is killing a part of his people.” The Head of State reiterated the wish to see Assad leave power. 

These statements, far removed from the idea of a common antiterrorist front integrating Russia which was formulated after the attacks in Paris, came as key players in the Syrian crisis lead up to difficult negotiations in Munich for a ceasefire.

“We must ensure that Bashar al-Assad leaves power and now, helped by the Russians, he is killing some of his own people even if it is also against a number of terrorists (…) I insist that Russian actions stop,” said François Hollande on French television on TF1 and France 2.

Since September 30 Russia has been conducting, a military operation against ISIS in Syria on the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

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Russian airstrikes targeted military sites, communication centers, transport, as well as stockpiles of weapons, ammunition and fuel belonging to ISIS. On October 7, four ships of the Russian Caspian Sea fleet also fired missiles against the ISIS sites.

Terrorists suffered considerable losses and changed their tactics, taking refuge in homes. They lost most of their weapons and equipment on the line of contact with Syrian troops. Several groups within ISIS are ready to leave the war zone.

Different personalities, including former Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO, Harald Kujat, acknowledged that the Russian military involvement in Syria had supported the peaceful settlement process in the country, and made the negotiations possible. 

The consultations on resolving the Syrian conflict are supposed to resume in Geneva February 25. However, the moderate Syrian opposition delegation put a sine qua non on any talks: the suspension of Russian strikes and suspending the offensive of the Syrian army on the city of Aleppo in Syria. 

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Russia proposed to introduce a cease-fire on Syrian territory. The terms of this proposal are currently being discussed within the framework of a meeting of the international contact group on Syria in Munich, and attended by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia had developed a new plan for a cease-fire in Syria and submitted it to the United States, which rejected it.
*Your volunteer translator has a response to François Hollande’s behavior. It’s a satire.

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