Bashar al-Assad

Assad push for normalisation finds a backdoor in France


The pariah regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, ostracised for its bloody repression of opponents in a civil war estimated to have caused the deaths of more than 300,000 civilians, was last weekend re-admitted, with the encouragement of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to the Arab League. While the French government, like those of other Western countries, insists there will be no normalisation of its relations with the Assad regime, there are some in France’s economic circles who are openly keen to resume business dealings with Damascus. Elie Guckert reports.

French Christian NGO's links to pro-Assad Syrian militia

International — Investigation

French Catholic association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) claims to help Christians in Syria without interfering in the conflict that for nine years has been tearing the country apart. But as an investigation for Mediapart has already shown, it has forged close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And as this second investigation reveals, the NGO - which for several years has been a 'National Defence Partner' of France's Ministry of Armed Forces – also supports pro-Assad militia.

French NGO 'Christians of the Orient' and its ties with the Assad regime

International — Investigation

French association SOS Chrétiens d’Orient (SOS Christians of the Orient) is a self-declared "apolitical" not-for-profit NGO, which sends volunteers and staff across the Middle East with the stated aim of supporting the region’s persecuted Christians, notably in Syria. But, as this investigation for Mediapart reveals, its links with the French far-right and its close relations with bodies and people supporting the Damascus regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad raise disturbing questions about its mission.

Syria's Assad returns legion of honour award from France

International — Link

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has returned his Legion d'honneur award, France's highest recognition of civil merit which was given to him in 2001, in retaliation for French participation in airborne strikes against the Damascus regime earlier this month and just days after Paris announced it intended stripping him of the decoration.

France to strip Syria's Assad of Légion d'honneur award

International — Link

The French presidency confirmed on Monday that a procedure has begun to strip Bashar al-Assad of his Légion d'honneur award, France's highest honour for actions of civil merit, given to him in 2001 by France's then-president Jacques Chirac.

Paris repeates pledge to retaliate if Assad chemical arms strike proven

International — Link

French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Tuesday reiterated previous warnings that France would 'respond' against the Damascus regime if evidence proves it used chemical weapons in an attack on rebel-held Douma at the weekend.

France believes Assad using chlorine gas in Syria

France — Link

In TV interview foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said 'all indications' suggested that the Syrian regime used the poison gas.

Macron rebuffs 'unacceptable' Assad attacks on France's role in Syria

International — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the 'enemy' of his people and described comments by Assad that France's 'hands are soaked in Syrian blood' as 'unacceptable'. 

Syrian actress and Assad opponent Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

International — Link

The stage and television actress, who was active in encouraging a cross-denomination opposition to the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad and who found refuge in France after taking part in the 2011 uprising in Syria, died overnight Thursday from cancer at the age of 44.

How Assad regime built chemical arsenal with aid of Germany and other countries

International — Investigation

Russia, Armenia and the former West Germany were all major suppliers of technology and raw materials for Syria's programme of chemical weapon production, exiled Syrians who worked on the project have told Mediapart. They also say that, in violation of intentional law, the Damascus regime still has a secret arsenal of up to 35 tonnes of chemical weapons. René Backmann reports.

Revealed: Assad regime's plan to use chemical weapons against opposition in 2009

International — Investigation

Exiled Syrian scientists have told Mediapart that the Damascus regime drew up plans to use chemical weapons against internal opposition two years before the start of the current civil war in 2011. The scientists, who were involved in the making of the weapons but who defected after misgivings about its use inside the country, say the country's president Bashar al-Assad had become unnerved by protests in Iran in 2009 and the regime had ordered seven military basses to be made ready to store chemical weapons – including sarin gas. René Backmann reports.

French foreign minister slams Assad's 'lies' over chemical attack

International — Link

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s claim that reports of a chemical weapons attack on rebels in the town of Idlib last week were false was '100 percent lies'.

Fall of Aleppo reveals fault lines in French politics

International — Analysis

The end of the battle for Syria's second city and the plight of its civilians have drawn different responses from across France's political spectrum. On the Right the line taken by conservative presidential candidate François Fillon has been close to that of the far-right Front National, with his defence of the Assad regime and Vladimir Putin. The ruling Socialist Party and the Greens have emphasised their support for Syria's opposition, while the radical left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has adopted an anti-imperialist stance, with the United States as his main target. Lénaïg Bredoux, Lucie Delaporte and Christophe Gueugneau report.

France accuses Syria's Assad of war crimes in Aleppo

International — Link

French ambassador to UN said Syrian government is targeting civilians in the city, where 250,000 people live under siege conditions.

French authorities seize Paris land owned by Al-Assad family

International — Link

The land, intended for property development, is owned by the uncle of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and is suspected by judicial authorities of being acquired with the proceeds of fraud.