The Syrian government accused France of “schizophrenia” on Sunday for pledging to support a peaceful resolution to the uprising challenging President Bashar al-Assad and simultaneously aiding the armed groups driving the insurrection. At the same time, a French doctor returning from a rebel-controlled hospital raised new alarms about the presence of foreign Islamist militants in Syria.
Days after the French government said that it would provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance directly to the rebels controlling five Syrian cities, a spokesman for the Syrian government accused France of undermining the first trip to the region by the new United Nations envoy charged with negotiating a peace, Lakhdar Brahimi.
“On the one hand, it supports Brahimi’s mission, while at the same time it makes statements demonstrating that it supports the militarization of the crisis in Syria,” the Syrian spokesman, Jihad Makdessi, said of the French government in an interview with The Associated Press. “The only way to make Brahimi’s mission a success is the cooperation of all parties to enable him to bring about calmness and then the political process.”
Western leaders and the Syrian rebels say the Assad government expressed similar support for peace proposals made by the previous envoy, Kofi Annan, but in fact failed to curb its military campaign to wipe out the opposition. Mr. Annan, the former general secretary of the United Nations, quit in frustration. And the Assad government has since ruled out any talks with the rebels, dismissing them as foreign agents.
1. And here's what the good doctor had to say about the jihadis:
From the article in the OP:
In Paris, a French doctor who just returned from a two-week medical mission at a rebel-controlled hospital in Aleppo said he was surprised by the number of militants from outside Syria who had joined the fight with the goal of establishing an Islamist government.
The doctor, Jacques Bérès, 71, a surgeon who is known for missions to war zones and who helped found the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview with Reuters that he had treated about 40 patients a day and that 60 percent were rebel fighters, half of whom were from outside Syria.
“It’s really something strange to see,” he said, according to Reuters. “They are directly saying that they aren’t interested in Bashar al-Assad’s fall, but are thinking about how to take power afterward and set up an Islamic state with Shariah law to become part of the world emirate.”
“Some of them were French and were completely fanatical about the future,” he added, according to Reuters.