French FM heads to Turkey for Syria

French FM heads to Turkey for Syria

French FM heads to Turkey for Syria

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) and Jordan King Abdullah speak after talks about the Syrian conflict at the Royal Palace, in Amman, Jordan. AP photo

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will visit Turkey on Aug. 17 in the last stop of his regional tour to the three countries where Syrian refugees have fled.

“Fabius will hold high-level talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as part of France’s efforts to promote a swift and credible political transition in Syria,” French diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Fabius arrived Aug. 15 in Jordan and met with King Abdullah II before travelling to Lebanon and Turkey. Fabius said Aug. 16 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “butchering his own people” and that the sooner he vacated power the better, Agence France-Presse reported.

“France’s position is clear: We consider al-Assad to be butchering his own people. He must leave, and the sooner he goes the better,” Fabius told reporters at the U.N.-run Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, which houses around 6,000 Syrians.

“We are, at the international level, encouraging Syrians to find a political transition. I stress that a political transition must come soon, this is the obvious solution,” he said. At the desert refugee camp, Fabius visited a French field hospital and also met UN officials and spoke with Syrian refugees.

Support for refugees

Jordan hosts more than 150,000 Syrians, including members of the opposition, as well as former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who fled to the kingdom last week after defecting.

Following his stops in Jordan and Lebanon Fabius will head to Turkey where he will visit the Syrian refugee camp in the southern city of Kilis first before going on to meet with Davutoğlu in Ankara. During this visit the foreign minister will express France’s support for Syrian refugees forced into exile by the regime’s atrocities, French sources said.