MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Poisson, along with two other French parliamentarians, is on visit to Syria. Later on Wednesday, the delegation is due to meet Assad. The decision to have talks with the Syrian leader has sparked controversy and criticism in France as it is one of the countries that supported the uprising to overthrow Assad in 2011.
"I want to learn his point of view on the conditions under which a truce can be reached, on the extent of the possibility of achieving such a truce with the people, whose aim is to wage war," Poisson, the leader of France's Christian Democratic Party, said.
Syria has been in the state of civil war since a 2011 political collapse, when mass anti-government protest against Assad and the ruling party escalated into an open armed confrontation between government troops and allied militias on the one hand, and the Syrian opposition on the other.
The conflict is ongoing, and apart from fighting the opposition, Assad has had to counter extremist groups, including the notorious Islamic State.
Meanwhile, Russia has been assisting both the government and civilians of the war-torn country. Apart from encouraging a political solution to the crisis, since September 30 Moscow has been conducting airstrikes on terrorist positions.
Last week, Russian lawmaker Dmitry Sablin visited Damascus and told RIA Novosti that Assad had expressed his willingness to hold new parliamentary and presidential elections, and was ready to run again for president. Last year, Assad won the presidential elections, gaining over 88 percent of the popular vote.