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Syria's Assad accuses France of 'hysteria' for calling to put him on trial

Damascus is furious after French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said she thinks Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stand trial for his role in the Syrian war.
A large poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is decorated with paper flowers during the opening of the 42nd International Flower Show in the Tishreen park in the capital Damascus on June 22, 2022. (Photo by LOUAI BESHARA / AFP) (Photo by LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — France reiterated on Thursday its stance against rehabilitating ties with Syria after Damascus qualified a call by Paris to try President Bashar al-Assad for his role in the civil war as ‘’hysteria.’’

Interviewed on Tuesday on French television channel France 2, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna answered "yes" when asked if Assad should be put on trial, adding that "the battle against crime, against impunity is part of French diplomacy." 

Three Syrian nationals, all former or current advisers of Assad, were charged on March 29 in France with complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes. The French prosecution argues that the three Syrians were implicated in the disappearance and deaths of a French high school counselor in Damascus, Mazen Dabbagh, and his son Patrick back in 2013. 

The affirmation by Colonna sparked Damascus' irk. A statement issued by the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said, "We have recently followed the hysteria and isolated and detached positions of French diplomacy, which has lost its senses after the historic decisions of the Arab summit in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia when it comes to Syria. The backward French diplomacy must review its positions." The statement then accused France of seeking to "restore the legacy of the colonial era."

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