Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-Assad Reuters

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad launched a scathing attack on France on Monday, accusing it of backing "terrorism" and saying it has "no right to talk about peace" in the war-torn country, AFP reports.

"France has been the standard bearer of support for terrorism in Syria since the early days of the conflict," Assad charged, referring to Paris's support for rebels who have been battling his regime since 2011.

"It is in no position to evaluate a peace conference," Assad told journalists in Damascus.

"Whoever backs terrorism has no right to talk about peace or to interfere in Syrian affairs," he added.

His comments came after France accused the Damascus regime of obstructing the latest round of failed peace talks for Syria held in Geneva last week.

The latest peace talks in Switzerland ended on Thursday without progress. A day later, Paris denounced what it called the Assad government's "irresponsible strategy of obstruction", saying it had refused to engage in the negotiations.

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron called Assad "an enemy of the Syrian people" and added that he "will have to respond to his crimes before his people, before the international courts."

At the same time, the French president also stressed, "We have to speak to Assad and his representatives."

Assad's fate has been the stumbling block to progress in every round of UN-backed indirect negotiations in Geneva so far between his representatives and those of the Syrian opposition.

France has several times changed its position on Assad since Macron took office. In July, the French president said that the removal of the Syrian president was not a "prerequisite" for peace in the war-torn country, and that he did not see a "legitimate successor" to Assad.

Later, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there should be a political transition in Syria that would not include Assad.

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