France is calling for Russia to face an investigation into international war crimes in Syria


Thomson Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday that President Francois Hollande will take into account the situation in Syria's Aleppo when deciding whether to see his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he visits Paris on Oct. 19

Ayrault also told France Inter radio that he will ask the international court of justice to investigate possible war crimes in Syria.

"We do not agree with what Russia is doing, bombarding Aleppo. France is committed as never before to saving the population of Aleppo," Ayrault said.

"If the President decides (to see Putin), this will not be to trade pleasantries," he added

French officials are not the only ones questioning Russia's tactics in Syria. Last month, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia's actions in Syria may amount to war crimes if the country was involved in an airstrike on a humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo.

"Putin’s regime is not just handing Assad the revolver," the foreign secretary said. "He is in some instances firing the revolver. The Russians themselves are actually engaged."

On Friday, Russia vetoed a draft resolution put together by France and Spain which called for a cessation of all hostilities in the war-torn country. This is the sixth time Russia has vetoed UN action in the six-year long civil war.

A similar draft by Russia was put before the UN, but it didn't mention airstrikes. Their proposal was also rejected.

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(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Michel Rose)

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