Hollande vows support for political transition in Syria
French President Francois Hollande has promised to step up efforts for a political transition in Syria followig a ceasefire deal between warring sides in the war-hit Arab country.
Hollande, who was speaking to reporters during a visit to Peru on Tuesday, said France, Britain, Germany, and the United States would join forces to push for “discussions on a real political transition” in Syria. Those Western countries are the main supporters of the so-called moderate militant groups fighting against Syrian government forces.
The White House said US President Barack Obama discussed the agreement to end violence in Syria with British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president via videoconference on Tuesday.
Hollande further called on Syria’s warring sides to respect the recently announced truce agreement.
“A ceasefire has been announced. It must be fully respected and the sooner, the better,” he said.
The United States and Russia announced on Monday that they had reached a deal for a ceasefire in Syria which would begin on February 27. The Syrian government said the following day that it accepts the terms of the ceasefire deal on the basis that military efforts against terrorist Daesh and Nusra Front groups continue.
Hollande said that the truce must be implemented so that “humanitarian aid can be transported” to hard-hit spots such as the northern province of Aleppo and so that the unprecedented inflow of Syrian refugees to Europe be stopped.
“It is high time for this, otherwise refugees will continue to come and there will be an unbearable humanitarian situation in Turkey,” the main route for the Syrian refugees fleeing the nearly five-year foreign-backed militancy in their country.
This as elements inside the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), which has been designated by the United States and allies as moderate opposition in Syria, have reportedly threatened to ignore the ceasefire agreed in the Arab country.
“Several FSA brigades announced the refusal to join the ceasefire in Syria if it does not apply to the Nusra Front,” the Lebanese-based al-Mayadeen TV quoted an unnamed commander of Ahrar ash-Sham militants as saying on Tuesday.
Syria is in the midst of a deadly turmoil since March 2011.
More than 470,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced in Syria over the past five years.