Europe

France's Macron to stop push for Assad's departure

President Emmanuel Macron says France is no longer pushing for the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a shift in French policy throughout the Syrian war.

Macron said in an interview with eight European newspapers published on Thursday that he wants to work more closely with Russia for a solution in Syria and says foreign powers were too focused on Assad as a person.

Macron says: "The new outlook I have on this issue is that I haven't stated that Bashar Assad's departure is a necessary condition for everything. Because no one has shown me a legitimate successor."

Macron's predecessors were among the most vocal Assad opponents.

However, Macron warned France would attack Syria if the government uses chemical weapons. French warplanes are already targeting Islamic State extremists in Syria.