French MEPs to visit Syria for talks with Assad officials

French MEPs to visit Syria for talks with Assad officials
2 min read
26 August, 2019
Four French politicians will visit Assad's Syria this week.
Mariani {left) has visited Syria six times since 2015 [Getty]
Three French members of the European parliament (MEPs) will visit Syria this week, where they will meet members of Bashar al-Assad's regime, according to one politician.

MEP Thierry Mariani said on Twitter that he would he would leave for Syria on Tuesday with MEP Virginie Joron and MEP Nicolas Bay of the right-wing to far-right National Rally, formerly known as the Front National (National Front), along with former regional politician Andréa Kotarac.

The National Rally delegation will stay in Syria until 1 September and meet "political, economic and religious" figures, Mariani said, a former minister who has visited Syria six times since 2015.

"With @v_joron, @NicolasBay and @AndreaKotarac
we will leave this Tuesday 27/8 until 1/9 in #Syrie to meet political, economic, cultural and religious leaders in this country, which for 8 years has been fighting bravely and successfully against Islamist terrorists," he said on Twitter, referring to the Syrian rebels and Islamist groups who have been battling the Assad regime.

Mariani did not say whether the nationalist delegation will meet Bashar al-Assad, but other foreign visitors have during their visits to war-torn Syria.

A number of right-wing and far-right European politicians have visited Syria during the war, which broke out in 2011 after the regime brutally suppressed anti-government protests leading to an armed rebellion.

Since then, around 500,000 people have died and half the population made homeless, most of those affected by regime and Russian bombing of opposition areas.

Russia is helping lead a regime offensive on Idlib, which has also cost hundreds of civilian lives.