Fabius: 'After Kobane, we must save Aleppo'

Fabius: 'After Kobane, we must save Aleppo'
3 min read
04 November, 2014
French foreign minister urges the US-led coalition to support Syrian forces fighting both the Assad regime and IS forces in Aleppo.
Aleppo is Syria's second largest city [Getty]
Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister urged the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) to continue the fight after it pushes the armed group out of Kobane, on the Syria-Turkey border.

Fabius, writing in The Washington Postcalled on the coalition not to abandon forces fighting against Assad by concentrating on the battle against IS in Kobane and neighbouring areas.

"After Kobane, we must save Aleppo," Fabius said. Dozens of airstrikes have been carried out in the past month by US forces - with the support of Arab allies - to help Kurdish forces ward off a fierce IS assault and siege.

Anti-regime forces in Aleppo, Syria’s economic hub and home to ancient heritage sites, have been facing a two pronged attack; bombardment by the regime and IS encroachment on the town. 

"The city is almost entirely encircled," Fabius wrote of the rebels in Aleppo. 

Under threat

More than a million people have left the city, joining the sea of Syrian refugees.

t around 300,000 residents are holding on, "threatened with the same death and destruction that the regime has inflicted on Homs and the suburbs of Damascus", he said.
     Assad and Daish are two sides of the same barbaric coin
- Laurent Fabius,  French foreign minister

In July 2012, Syrian anti-regime fighters seized most of the east of Aleppo governorate, confining government forces to the west, but they have come under renewed assault in recent months.

"Assad and Daish are two sides of the same barbaric coin," Fabius said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. 

"Assad largely created this monster by deliberately setting free the jihadists who fuelled this terrorist movement. This was part of his underhanded effort to appear, in the eyes of the world, as the sole bulwark against terrorism in Syria."

Undermining moderates

The French foreign minister stated that the deliberate focus on Aleppo by both Assad's administration and IS stems from it being the bastion of moderate opposition - "the only political alternative capable of preserving the prospect of an open, pluralistic, democratic Syria."

France is involved in strikes against IS militants in Iraq but has so far kept out of the air campaign in neighbouring Syria.

Fabius said France would not resign itself to the breakup of Syria and would work towards supporting moderate rebels in Aleppo and protecting its civilian population, without detailing how. 

"Abandoning Aleppo would mean condemning Syria to years of violence. It would mean the death of any political future," he wrote.

His article echoed the words of French President Francois Hollande on Friday, who described Aleppo as "key" to the conflict.

Fabius’ comments also come after sustained Turkish criticisms of the US-led coalition's campaign in Syria. Ankara has refused to take part in military action in its neighbour until a broad strategy to deal with both the Assad regime and IS is formulated.