Syria: Lamia Chakkours resignation later denied on Syrian State TV, but confirmed by Syrian Embassy. The plot thickens…

Syrian State TV  and Al Arabiya aired telephone interviews with a woman claiming to be Syria’s ambassador to France, Lamia Chakkour denying that she had resigned. Instead the woman claiming to be Lamia Chakkour stated that she would, in the coming hours give a statement in French on the most watched and popular French channel to disclaim this news. She would also, according to the SANA, seek legal action against France 24.

According to France 24 the Syrian Embassy in Paris confirmed to them and by e-mail to Reuters that Lamia Chakkours had resigned. France 24 is standing by the story.

The questions is then if A) the person on France 24 was a hoax, B) if the ambassador got ‘cold’ feet and changed her mind (relatives in Syria could have been put under pressure/threatened) or C) the person on Syrian State TV and Al Arabiya was a hoax.

Why would the ambassador not contact France 24 immediately to debunk this ‘false’ statement, but instead go on Syrian TV and Al Arabiya? Why would she claim she would do a statement in the coming hours on the most watched and popular channel in France to disclaim this news – why wait – why not do it immediately? Furthermore France 24 called Lamia Chakkour on her cell phone (as they have done in the past) and got her on their program with the intent for her, by phone, to comment the situation in Syria (together with pro-democracy activist in the studio). And that was when she read the statement.

On the other hand the Syrian government has every reason to try to buy time, to try to get the ambassador to recant her resignation, to cast doubt on France 24 and the resignation and also get other ambassadors under ‘control’ so as not to get a stream of defections. Another motive is that the Syrian government wants to use any possibility to charge foreign media of being biased or ‘in on it’ to topple the regime (on cooperation with France, USA and Israel).

At the moment I am going with alternative C.

I am sure that things, that for the moment, looks a bit murky, will have cleared by tomorrow. If Lamia Chakkour has tended her resignation Quai D’Orsay, the French foreign ministry, will have been informed that she no longer representing Syria in France.

Then we will know if it is A, B or C.


About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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6 Responses to Syria: Lamia Chakkours resignation later denied on Syrian State TV, but confirmed by Syrian Embassy. The plot thickens…

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is also d) threats against family members.

  2. io says:

    d) threats against family members.

  3. Indeed – alternative D) should be added!

  4. abual3mer says:

    you know what Leif you are very SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsmart and as I read on facebook the Syrian regime threatend her and as much as they do they hide aliens , hahahahhahahhahahahhahahha

    forgive me

  5. For me it seems a well played game by the regime to weakening the credibility of the foreign channels like Al-Arabiya Al-Jazeera and France24.
    France24 did everything correct to contact the Ambassador, but the Embassy seems to fake the Information that were given to France24, and then the Embassy denied the the news of France24, which already became the news of the main channels that covering Syria’s news.

    The second benefit the regime could get out of such a game is answering the French government that it is too far from losing it is real legitimacy, by showing an angry Ambassador who will never resign. We should remember that this move came in the same day when France called the Syrian regime not legitimate.
    Yesterday night the Embassy had tens of Journalists outside of it, Which makes Ambassador important, and everybody is trying to talk to the Ambassador of no legitimacy regime. So the Syrian regime challenged France about it’s legitimacy.

    Also all this journalists that will interview the Ambassador they will have to ask her about the situation in Syria, and these interviews will come out on the main French papers, which will make everybody feel that the regime is still legitimate in France..

    In any case I assure you that the Syrian regime prepared it’s Media for this news, and the seemed confidant, and I don’t think that the Ambassador would resign without making sure that her family will be okay.
    also about her family being threatened that’s not realistic because she contacted the media within ten minutes, I mean if the Syrian security officers are Super Sonic they cannot make it.

  6. In hindsight the Syrian response was too quick and efficient. The fact that the ambassador/Syrian Embassy did not contact France 24 to correct what they claim to be a ‘false’ interview and the attack against France 24 in the interview with Syrian State TV, Al Arabiya and BMF indicates a modus operandi of delegitimizing France 24.

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