Mani Mehrabi, an Iranian international affairs analyst and specialist on the war in Syria, suggested that the foreign minister's comments didn't serve as any indication of France's intentions.
"After the terrorists were weakened in Aleppo province, Idlib became their main haven. Since then, this province was turned into a 'red line' for the UK, the US, France and Turkey: Every time the Syrian government and its allies made plans to clear the province of terrorists, it was attacked by these Western powers," Mehrabi explained, speaking to Sputnik Iran.
After that, Mehrabi noted, "Le Drian formally warned Assad against the introduction of Syrian forces into Idlib province, and emphasized that the Idlib problem could only be resolved through political means. The 'political process,' in the opinion of Le Drian, includes a compromise between the Syrian government and the forces of Tahrir al-Sham* and the effective transfer of the northern provinces to terrorist groups," the analyst stressed.
Ultimately, the observer suggested that far from recognizing Damascus's victory and thereby helping to bring the long foreign-sponsored war in Syria closer to an end, Le Drian's remarks were aimed at sending "two misguided messages" to the world.
"The first is that the civil war in the country is over, and that the means to dividing the country should remain in their present form," the analyst said. "The second aims to suggest that the Syrian government seeks to attack the losers of the war after its conclusion, to settle scores and organize a genocide."
This week, amid warnings by Syrian and Russian military officials that Tahrir al-Sham may stage a provocation in Idlib involving chemical weapons to evoke a Western response, the White House warned that Washington and its allies would "respond swiftly and appropriately" to any chemical weapons use by the Syrian government. Earlier, President Trump warned President Assad not to "recklessly attack" Idlib and said Russia and Iran would be making a "grave humanitarian mistake" if they took part.
* Tahrir al-Sham, aka al-Nusra Front, aka al-Qaeda in Syria, is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries. Al-Qaeda has carried out terrorist attacks all around the world and was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., which killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
Mani Mehrabi is a member of the Tehran-based Academic Council of the Scientific Center for International Relations. The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Mehrabi are those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.