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    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Denmark's TV 2, in this handout picture provided by SANA on October 6, 2016.

    France's Calls for Assad's Ouster as Terms for Aid to Syria Paradoxical - Moscow

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    France's attempts to demand the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a condition for humanitarian aid to the country are paradoxical, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — She said, "an impression is created that this is already some sort of blackmail, that Paris has completely lost the concept of the values of humanism."

    "The position in which the departure of a legitimate president of a UN member state is declared a condition for rendering assistance to the population of that country is paradoxical," Zakharova said at a briefing.

    Moscow, Ankara and Tehran brokered a nationwide ceasefire in Syria in late December 2016. The truce paved the way for a series of summits in Kazakhstan, which saw representatives of Damascus and armed opposition groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad meet for the first time since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011. These efforts are expected to facilitate the fragile peace process in Syria.

    Assad's government has faced numerous allegations of war crimes, including over the executions of potential dissidents and arbitrary aerial campaigns that have resulted in thousands of deaths. The Syrian government responded by stating that executions in Syria follow a due process, and that military efforts were solely focused on terrorists.

    In December, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Canada announced possible sanctions against supporters of Assad, over allegations of war crimes. Assad responded by criticizing international leaders for ignoring the killings of civilians by terrorists, as they were only concerned about the advance of the Syrian government army.

    While countries including Turkey, France and the United Kingdom, among other western nations, are seeking to oust Assad, Russia and Iran have repeatedly supported the freedom of the Syrian people to choose their own leadership. US President Donald Trump has said that the United States, which under former President Barack Obama insisted on ousting Assad, will prioritize the fight against terrorism.

    ceasefire, UN, Bashar al-Assad, Syria
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