French President Emmanuel Macron said the reality in Syria is that President Bashar al-Assad will continue to stay in power because his opponents have lost "the war on the ground."
Speaking in an interview with France 24 television on Sunday, Macron said al-Assad would be staying in power because Iran and Russia had "won the war on the ground."
"Bashar al-Assad will be there. He will be there because he is protected by those who have won the war on the ground, whether it's Iran or Russia," Macron added.
Paris, however, is opposed to the al-Assad government and has hoped to see him removed. And while it has on several occasions indicated that its number-one priority in Syria is not regime change - a stance Macron repeated in the Sunday interview - it had until now avoided explicitly admitting the reality on the ground in Syria.
The French president, who has sought a bigger role for France on the international scene, said his government would want to "build a political solution" to the crisis in Syria, including by bringing the government and opposition to the negotiating table.
The Syrian government faced militancy since March 2011, when different governments armed and financed some armed groups in an attempt to have al-Assad forcefully removed from power. Those armed factions were soon joined by an array of international terrorists pouring into the country to help oust al-Assad.
However, the Syrian government persevered as different factions of the society rallied around al-Assad in the face of an all-out militancy.
Syria's allies, Iran and Russia, also offered advisory military help, and Moscow launched an aerial bombardment campaign against extremist groups in the country in September 2015 on a request from the Syrian government.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team