x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

France admits there are no signs of Assad falling, despite saying he would

Despite saying for months that the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, was on the verge of being overthrown, France has admitted there are no signs of this happening.

PARIS/BEIRUT // Despite saying for months that the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, was on the verge of being overthrown, France admitted yesterday that there were no signs of this happening.

France, a former colonial ruler of Syria, has been one of the most vocal backers of the rebels trying to topple Mr Al Assad.

"Things are not moving," the foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said yesterday. "The solution that we had hoped for - and by that I mean the fall of Bashar and the arrival of the [opposition] coalition to power - has not happened."

Syrian opposition leaders and representatives of 50 nations will meet in Paris on Monday.

Mr Al Assad was shown on Syrian state television yesterday visiting a mosque to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said six civilians, including two children, were killed in Homs yesterday when their house was bombed.