During their trip, the lawmakers visited Aleppo and had an opportunity to see the actual situation in the city recently liberated from terrorists.
On December 16, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Syrian Army's operation to liberate militant-controlled eastern Aleppo was completed, however, several hotbeds of militants' resistance remained. On December 22, the last militants left eastern Aleppo, thus the Syrian Army gained full control over the city.
In an exclusive interview with Sputnik French, Mariani pointed out the difference between mainstream media coverage and the real situation on the ground in Aleppo.
Mainstream media coverage on Aleppo gives the impression of a city lying in ruins and totally abandoned by its inhabitants. However, according to the lawmaker, what he saw in Aleppo is radically different.
"It is well-known that some mainstream media outlets are biased. Before I arrived to Aleppo I expected to see a totally ruined city and a completely destroyed population. But what does the reality look like? Some 15 percent of the city is destroyed, 20 percent are seriously damaged, but 65 percent are completely unaffected," Mariani said.
"When you come to Aleppo you can see that life goes on," he added.
"I expected to see that the entire Aleppo population was destroyed. In fact, 35,000 dead is awful. The casualties should not be underestimated. But those numbers are far from what mainstream media describes as a 'total extermination,'" he underscored.
Mariani noted that those making inaccurate comments and reports on Aleppo should visit the city to see the situation with their own eyes.
"Aleppo is a martyr city. Now, it is liberated and needs to be rebuilt. I think that more journalists and politicians should visit Aleppo before telling things that do not correspond with reality," he pointed out.
Mariani also said that during the visit to Aleppo he and his colleagues met a lot of Franco-Syrians and French-speaking people. According to the lawmaker, a lot of those people are discontent with France’s stance on the Syrian conflict.
"It is easy to stay in the 7th arrondissement of Paris [where the French National Assembly is situated], read liberal newspapers and then explain what the real situation is [in Syria]. Actually, the situation on the ground is different," he added.
Mariani also said that he and his colleagues Nicolas Dhuicq and Jean Lassale met with President Assad in Damascus. The parties discussed chemical attacks allegations against the Syrian Army and Syrian government’s plans to reach peace and rebuild the country.