SPUTNIK: The French interior ministry has recently announced that French jihadists jailed by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria could soon be repatriated. What do you think of the Elysee allowing French foreign fighters to return home?
Xavier Moreau: If these people have committed crimes in Syria, they should be sent to court in Syria, in Damascus, not in France, because they have committed crimes in Syria. The point is that Paris doesn't want to recognise that they lost the war against Syria, and that it's their mission to bring all these terrorist people to court. This is my opinion.
So the first thing to do, for the French government, is to leave the Syrian territory, because there's no right to be here: they have not been invited by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and there is no UN decision, one by the Security Council, to send some French troops to Syria. So everything is linked to the fact that the French presence on the Syrians' territory is not legal, from the international point of view.
SPUTNIK: Speaking of the legal implications of the repatriation of jihadists, French ones, in this case — we do know that they voluntarily joined a terrorist group, supported and fought for it in the Levant; we know many of them who already returned to France carried out attacks there, and potentially continue to threaten the French. So what legal consequences will these French prisoners face once they've come back from Syria?
Xavier Moreau: How are we going to judge them? There is no base for us to do so. […]
But, first of all, again, we need to find evidence. Who will provide such evidence against these people? We can't condemn them. So that's exactly the problem we have, that we don't know how to judge them; it would be very difficult to find some evidence to condemn them, because the only thing that could be used against them is deciding they took weapons against legal power.
So the only thing to do to protect the French people is to leave them in Syria and let them be judged by Damascus — and they should be punished by Damascus' power. This is the best way to bring them to justice.
SPUTNIK: How have the French reacted to the foreign ministry's statement to repatriate potentially dangerous individuals?
Xavier Moreau: The right opposition is fully against this. From the right to the far-right, they are all against this decision of [French President Emmanuel] Macron's government.
Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Xavier Moreau and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) and Al-Nusra Front (also known as al-Qaeda in Syria), are terrorist groups banned in Russia
** According to documents, the jihadist's lawyer said that "after the alleged 2013 chemical attack in Syria, France wanted to start a war. These videos have been distributed in the thousands. The repressions were carried out by Bashar al-Assad, not by Daesh or Jabhat an-Nusra. France asked the United States to be on its side. Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister, spoke about Bashar Assad, explaining that he ‘does not deserve to be on Earth’”. The lawyer's colleague separately pointed out that in March 2013, a judge specialising in combating terrorism (Marc Trevidic) even spoke of "permitted jihad".