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.
The women and children were brought back to France from Kurd-controlled camps in Syria where they had been interned after the military collapse of the so-called Isalamic State group in the region, and follows a similar mission in July.
In a settlement of a longstanding legal case brought against it by the US Department of Justice, French cement producer Lafarge has accepted a 790-million-euro fine after it pleaded guilty to paying terrorist groups in Syria, and notably the so-called Islamic State group, millions of euros in order to maintain operations of its factory in the country in 2013 and 2014.
The Turkish-based Syrian journalist and Mediapart contributor Hussam Hammoud was refused a visa by the French authorities on September 5th. A month later, on Wednesday October 5th, his legal team appeared at the administrative court in Nantes to appeal against this decision. The journalist's lawyers highlighted the vague approximations and errors in the arguments used by France's Ministry of the Interior to refuse him the humanitarian visa and called for the application to be looked at again. François Bougon reports.
With next June's Turkish presidential election fast approaching, the issue of Syrian refugees in the country has become a major topic for political parties. Politicians' speeches on the subject, repeated at every opportunity, are contributing to the growing wave of racism shown by many Turkish citizens towards immigrants in general - and Syrians in particular. Mediapart correspondent Hussam Hammoud reports from Gaziantep in southern Turkey on the plight of his fellow Syrians in the country.
The 16 women, aged 22 to 39, and 35 minors arrived in France on Tuesday from several camps in north-east Syria where they were interned following the territorial defeat of the so-called Islamic State group in 2019.
Three young orphans of French jihadist parents who died after joining the ranks of the so-called Islamic State group in Syria have been held in orphanages in Damascus since November 2019. The aunt of two of them has been campaigning for their return to France, but the French authorities have told her they cannot help with the repatriation. “It’s a political question, but it is these children who suffer the consequences,” says their aunt. “They have already paid for the choices made by their parents.” Céline Martelet reports.
Three young orphans of French jihadist parents killed in Syria after joining the ranks of the so-called Islamic State group have been held in orphanages in Damascus since November 2019. The aunt of two of them has been campaigning for their return to France, but the French authorities have told her they cannot help. “It’s a political question, but it is these children who suffer the consequences,” says their aunt. “They have already paid for the choices made by their parents.” Céline Martelet reports.
Following an appeal court ruling, the cement giant must now face charges of complicity in crimes against humanity over alleged payoffs to Islamic State group and other jihadist groups during Syria's civil war.
Fighters have been arriving from all corners of the planet to help defend Ukraine itself against the Russian invasion. Mediapart has been told that these foreign fighters include around 150 from France. The authorities in Paris meanwhile worry there could be a repeat of the problems seen during the Syrian war when French fighters went to combat Bashar al-Assad's regime – and came back radicalised. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.
In the second of two articles based on interrogations by United States intelligence officials, Mediapart tells the story of the four notorious British jihadists who were to become known as 'The Beatles'. As Matthieu Suc reports, they were the first terrorists to represent to the wider world the true threat posed by Islamic State.
He has been variously described as a “billionaire, a “peacemaker” and a key figure in “inter-faith dialogue”. For ten years French political and religious leaders have rolled out the red carpet for Mohamad Izzat Khatab, a Syrian businessman whose past is shrouded in mystery. According to an investigation by Mediapart, this fan of selfies taken with the rich and powerful has just been placed under investigation in relation to a vast fraud case. Antton Rouget reports.
Ruling by top French court marks a major setback for Lafarge, which is accused of paying nearly 13 million euros to jihadist groups including the Islamic State (IS) to keep its cement factory in northern Syria running through the early years of the country's war.