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    Syrians gather around a Christmas tree in Aleppo's government controlled Aziziyah neighbourhood on December 31, 2016

    French Lawmakers Depart for Syria to Spend Orthodox Christmas in Aleppo

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    The French lawmakers are expected to meet with Syria's President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moualem during their January 5 - 10 visit.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Three French lawmakers are departing on a humanitarian visit to Syria to spend the Orthodox Christmas weekend with Syrian Christians in Aleppo, organizer of the trip Thierry Mariani, who is a member of The Republicans (LR) party, told Sputnik Thursday.

    "In March, a delegation of the French parliamentarians visited Syria and attended the Easter Vigil with Syrian Christians where we promised to come back for the Christmas service," Mariani said.

    The French delegation is expected to meet with Syria's President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moualem during a January 5 — 10 visit.

    Mariani, who is a former French Transport Minister, Nicolas Dhuicq, who is a lawmaker with The Republicans (LR) party and a member of the French legislative defense committee and Jean Lasalle of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department are also expected to meet in Syria with the local business community, religious authorities, civil society leaders and NGO representatives.

    Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, following the protests that had turned violent, as part of the so-called Arab Spring. Over the recent months, Aleppo became a major battleground in Syria.

    On December 16, 2016, the Russian Defense Ministry's center for Syrian reconciliation said that the Syrian army operation to liberate the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo was over, and that the Syrian government troops were eliminating separate hotbeds of militant resistance.

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    Tags:
    Christmas, Jean Lasalle, Nicolas Dhuicq, Thierry Mariani, Walid Muallem, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Aleppo, France
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