Paris- Asharq Al-Awsat, 24 Nov. 2016- – French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said his country would host a high-level ministerial meeting in December to discuss the means to end the bloodshed in war-torn Syria.
The meeting will gather foreign ministers of countries supporting the moderate Syrian opposition, including the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Ayrault said the Syrian regime and its allies were waging “total war’” against opposition-held areas.
“Today one million people are besieged. Not just in Aleppo, but in Homs, Ghouta and Idlib, and that’s the reality of the situation in Syria,” Ayrault told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
“France is taking an initiative to confront this strategy of total war by the regime and its allies, who are taking advantage of the current uncertainty in the United States,” he added.
Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Syria meeting would be held on December 6, saying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had promised that he would attend it.
The sources added that the majority of invitees have confirmed their presence.
The French foreign affairs minister said he had invited “countries who are friends of Syrian democracy and of the democratic Syrian opposition” to take part in the meeting.
He added that the international community “must stop averting its gaze” from the “terrible reality” of what was happening in Syria, especially in the besieged city of Aleppo.
Airstrikes carried out by the Syrian regime and its allies have killed more than 320 civilians — including women and children — in eastern Aleppo over the last six days according to local civil defense officials.
“It is urgent that we react,” Ayrault said.