France appoints new special envoy to Syria

France appoints new special envoy to Syria
France appointed a new special envoy to Syria on Thursday.
2 min read
03 December, 2021
Appointment of the new envoy does not signify in relations between France and Syria, which remain virtually non-existent [Getty]

France appointed former French ambassador to Malta Brigitte Curmi as its new special envoy to Syria on Wednesday.

France has not had an ambassador in Damascus since closing its embassy in 2012, but has maintained special presidential envoys to oversee the Syrian file since then. 

During the appointment of its previous envoy François Sénémaud in 2018, a French government spokesperson said that the move did not mean that France would “reopen its embassy.”

France has helped maintain diplomatic isolation of the Assad regime internationally. In 2018, France, along with the US and the UK, carried out military strikes in Syria in response to chemical weapons attacks against civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

Following the strikes, France imposed sanctions on individuals involved in Syria’s chemical weapons campaign. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that chemical weapons were used at least 17 times in Syria during its civil war, each time by the regime against its own people.

In April, France also put forth a motion to suspend Syria’s membership from the OPCW for its use of chemical weapons.

Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution and subsequent civil war, France and Syria enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was awarded the Legion d'honneur, France's highest order of merit, in 2001. He returned the award in 2018 after France's military strikes on the country.