Interrogated by BFM TV, on 7 February 2018, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, accused “Turkey, the regime of Damascus, Iran and all those that attacked the East Ghouta and Idleb” of violating international law.

The expression “the regime of Damascus” refers to the Syrian Arab Republic - to a member state of the UN family. Eastern Ghouta provides a safe haven to combatants trained by the Muslim Brotherhood and the British Special Forces. Idleb is controlled by Al-Qaeda.

Contrary to the declarations delivered by the French Minister, the military operations in Syria, on its own territory, do not violate international law. Quite to the contrary, they are situated in the framework of the UN Charter and General Assembly Resolution 2625. Iran’s participation in the fighting, at President al-Assad’s request, is also legal under international law.
On the contrary, the presence of French Special Forces without the authorization of the Syrian government internationally recognized contravenes both the UN Charter and Resolution 2625.

On 13 November 2017, the US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, had already claimed that the presence of his country’s troops without Syria’s authorization, had been authorized by the Security Council. This is false.

Mr Le Drian was intervening to oppose the Sotchi Consensus. He accused Syria of using chemical weapons and recalled that France would only accept peace negotiated in Geneva under the authority of the UN Department for Political Affairs (that is to say, Jeffrey Feltman) which includes Eastern Ghouta and Idleb. Now, the Security Council is banning any negotiation of this type with Al-Qaeda. This makes the French position impossible to satisfy.

Anoosha Boralessa