11:50 GMT +322 May 2019
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    Hezbollah fighter stands at a watchtower (File)

    French Foreign Minister Wants Withdrawal of Hezbollah From Syria

    © AP Photo / Bilal Hussein
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    France is part of a US-led coalition of over 70 nations that has been conducting operations against the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS) in Syria without either the government's approval or a UN mandate.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called for the withdrawal of Hezbollah from Syria.

    When asked in an interview on BFM TV whether Le Drian wanted Turkish armed forces to withdraw from Syria in the wake of the 'Olive Branch' operation, he replied that he wanted: "The withdrawal of all of those who ought not to be in Syria, including Iranian militia, including Hezbollah."

    READ MORE: Turkey Lashes Out at French President Over Warning Against 'Invasion' of Syria

    Iran has been accused by the US and some of its allies, including Israel, of providing arms to the Hezbollah movement fighting terrorists alongside the Syrian army, however, Tehran denied the claims, though admitted its political support for the Shiite movement, which is included in the Lebanese parliament.

    Previously, the French top diplomat criticized alleged "Iranian presence and the desire to make an axis from the Mediterranean to Tehran," a claim repeatedly denounced by the Islamic Republic. Iran has repeatedly refuted accusations of a desire to establish a military base in Syria, however, confimed sending military advisors to help Damascus fight terrorists.

    Tensions between Iran and France have increased since the end of 2017 after French President Emmanuel Macron had said that Tehran should be "less aggressive" in the region and clarify its ballistic missile program. The statement has also been echoed by Le Drian, who denounced Iran's alleged "hegemonic temptations" during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

    READ MORE: France Demands Urgent UNSC Meeting Over Turkish Operation in Syria's Afrin

    France is part of the US-led coalition of over 70 nations that has been conducting anti-Daesh operations in Syria without either the government's approval or a UN mandate, with Damascus caling its presence in the country a violation of international law.

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    Hezbollah, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Iran, Syria, France
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