Macron Breaks With Previous French Policy, Says Sees No Legitimate Successor to Syria's Assad

'Assad is the enemy of the Syrian people, not of France,' Macron says in interview with European newspapers

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a dinner organised by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) to break the fast of Ramadan, in Paris, on June 20, 2017
BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP

President Emmanuel Macron said in remarks published on Wednesday that he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar Assad and that France no longer considered his departure a pre-condition to resolving the six-year conflict. 

"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar Assad's departure is a pre-condition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," Macron said in an interview to eight European newspapers. 

He said Assad was an enemy of the Syrian people, but not of France and that Paris' priority was a total commitment to fighting terrorist groups and ensuring the country did not become a failed state. 

His comments are in stark contrast to the previous French administration and echo Moscow's stance that there was no viable alternative to Assad.