Macron rebukes Assad for accusing France of supporting terrorism

French president Emmanuel Macron has hit back at Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad's allegations that France supported terrorism in Syria, insisting that the US -led global coalition should be credited for the military successes against the Islamic State. "We have been coherent since the beginning", Macron told reporters at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris.

After a string of strong comments by French officials blaming Assad's government for atrocities and failed talks, Assad said on Monday France was supporting bloodshed in Syria, making it unfit to talk about peace settlements.

"It is known that France has been the spearhead of terrorism in Syria since the early days", the Syrian President was quoted by local media.

"Those who support terrorism do not have the right to talk about peace", he added.

Macron added that it had always targeted the IS and that only the US-led International Coalition, of which France's Air Force is a participant member, was capable of bringing an end to the terror organisation's presence in Syria.

"I don't think Syria boils down to Bashar al-Assad", Macron said.

He criticised separate Russian talks in Astana with Iran and Turkey meant to reduce violence and possibly pave the way to Syrian talks in Sochi next year.

"When you have spent your days massacring your own people, you should be generally a little more discreet", Le Drian said.

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