Keyword: Syria

Priest who taught tolerance in Syria warns of 'horrible' end


Italian Jesuit priest Paolo Dall’Oglio (pictured) has spent more than 30 years in Syria, where he rehabilitated the abandoned Deir Mar Musa monastery situated 80 kilometres north of Damascus. There he created a pluralist, ecumenical community where he preached tolerance and encouraged inter-faith dialogue. His activities brought him into increasing conflict with the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and he was finally expelled from the country this summer. In this in-depth interview with Caroline Donati, he offers a rare insight into the workings and strategies of both the Assad regime and the forces of the opposition movement, the stance of the Christian community and the hopes for future reconciliation, and denounces what he calls “the outrageous” and “disgusting” distance of the West in face of the escalating slaughter of opponents to the Damascus regime.  

Gaddafi 'betrayed to French by Assad'

Claims that French spies were able to set a trap for the Libyan dictator after obtaining Gaddafi's satellite telephone number from Syrian government.


France funding Syrian rebel civic projects

Senior diplomat says France is providing funds to rebel-held parts of Syria to help restore water supplies, sanitation, health services and bakeries.

France warns Syria over chemical weapons use

French President Francois Hollande warned that any use of Syria's chemical weapons would be a legitimate justification for military intervention.

France willing to participate in Syria no-fly zone

France says it is ready to help enforce a partial no-fly zone over Syria, as the Assad regime steps up offensive against rebels in Damascus.

Air France asks passengers to pay cash for Damascus refuelling stop

Crew of an Air France Paris-Beirut flight re-routed for security reasons to Damascus sought cash from passengers for refuelling to reach Cyprus.

Fillon fans attacks on French foreign policy

Former French PM François Fillon joins conservative attacks on President François Hollande’s foreign policy, calling Syria approach 'bare minimum'.

Past honeymoon with Assad unmasks Sarkozy 'intervention' call

MM. Assad et Sarkozy © Reuters MM. Assad et Sarkozy © Reuters

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has finally broken the silence he has kept since failing to be re-elected in May, with a widely-reported call for urgent international intervention against the massacres perpetrated by the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The appeal was contained in a joint statement signed with Syrian opposition leader Abdulbaset Sieda, president of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council. Sarkozy’s return to the public platform was a thinly-disguised attack on his socialist successor, François Hollande, who the former president’s conservative UMP party have criticised as being ineffective and indecisive over the crisis in Syria. But it was also in stark contrast to the extent and nature of Sarkozy’s past dealings with Assad and his regime and which mirrored his ties with other Arab dictators. Fabrice Arfi reports.


Revealed: the financial links between the Syrian regime and a close ally of Marine Le Pen

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F. Chatillon. © (C+) F. Chatillon. © (C+)

A friend and ally of far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen has been investigated by the fraud squad over his business dealings. No prosecution took place but the investigation did unveil the financial links between Frédéric Chatillon – whose firm helped Le Pen's recent presidential election campaign - and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. For his part Chatillon claims the top secret investigation was politically motivated. Karl Laske and Marine Turchi report.

Syrian General Defects To France

A military commander reportedly flees Damascus as supporters of the opposition gather in Paris to urge President Assad to quit.

Arab Spring: how women are using their bodies to create a revolution

Yasser Abou Hamed Yasser Abou Hamed

As the ramifications of the Arab Spring continue, a new and extraordinary phenomenon has emerged. Across the Middle East and North Africa women have started putting their body – and images of their bodies - at the heart of the unfolding social revolution there. In some demonstrations a blue bra worn by a beaten protester has become a potent symbol of peaceful female resistance to male oppression. Story by Nadia Aissaoui and Ziad Majed.

France calls on UN enforcement of Annan's Syria peace plan

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius says he will call on the UN Security Council to make mediator Kofi Annan's Syria peace plan mandatory.

France fails to shift Russia's Syria sanctions veto

During talks in Paris Francois Hollande failed to win the backing of Vladimir Putin for tougher U.N. sanctions aimed at ending violence in Syria.

UK, France and Australia expel Syrian diplomats after massacre in Houla

French President Francois Hollande told reporters that Ambassador Lamia Shakkour will be notified "today or tomorrow" that she must leave.

West walks a diplomatic tightrope above burning Syria

Une photo du président Bachar el-Assad est brûlée par des manifestants à Istanbul (Turquie). © Reuters Une photo du président Bachar el-Assad est brûlée par des manifestants à Istanbul (Turquie). © Reuters

Not a day passes without an increase in the death toll of the now 14-month old uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, despite a United Nations-backed ceasefire negotiated by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan more than a month ago. In this interview with Mediapart’s Caroline Donati, Robert Malley, a former special advisor on the Middle East to US President Bill Clinton, and now Programme Director for Middle East-North Africa affairs with the International Crisis Group, analyses the options for the international community, and the US in particular, in bringing an end to the bloody repression by the Assad regime, which the UN says has now claimed the lives of at least 9,000 people.