FRANCE 24, Oct. 26, 2016 - Sir Michael Fallon, British Secretary of State for Defense, gave an interview to FRANCE 24 after attending the Paris meeting of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Concerning the upcoming offensive on the Syrian city of Raqqa, the British defense chief stressed that the liberation of the city would have to be done by an "essentially Arab" force in order to avoid sectarian tensions. "Otherwise", he warned, "the liberation is not going to be welcomed by the people of Raqqa.”
Fallon also expressed frustration over the wider situation in Syria, where an end to the five-year civil war remains elusive, particularly in Aleppo, where he is “beginning to despair" that Russia wants any kind of political solution.
“It’s increasingly clear now that Russia is not prepared to use its huge influence over Assad to bring that settlement about. It’s within Russia’s power to do that but they’re not doing it, instead, they’re helping to bomb the regime’s opponent and that’s appalling”, he told FRANCE 24.