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France - Syria

France calls for safe zones in Syria in fight against Assad and Islamic State jihadists

Al-Kalaseh neigbourhood of Aleppo last month
Al-Kalaseh neigbourhood of Aleppo last month Reuters/Hosam Katan
2 min

France has called for the creation of safe zones in Syria to protect civilians from both government forces and the Islamic State (IS) armed group.

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Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says France is working with United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has proposed a freeze in fighting in Aleppo, in order to allow for humanitarian aid and to lay the groundwork for peace talks.

Fabius emphasised that protecting Syria’s second city, Aleppo, is key, saying that it is the next target for both President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and IS.

"Abandoning Aleppo would mean condemning Syria and its neighbours to years of chaos with terrible human consequences,” he said. “We are working with the UN envoy to try and save Aleppo and at the same time create safe zones where it is not possible for Bashar al-Assad's aircraft and the Islamic State armed group to pursue Syrians.”

Fabius admitted that there are “quite a few people to convince, including the Americans of course” but insisted that Aleppo should be saved.

Aleppo has been divided into government- and rebel-held areas since an insurgent offensive in mid-2012.
 

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