Bashar al Assad hands back Legion d'Honneur medal as he calls the French 'slaves of the US' after missile attack
April 21, 2018 02:23 PM NPT
SYRIA, April 21: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has sent a prestigious French award back in the post - saying he does not want to be honoured by 'a slave regime of the United States that supports terrorism'.
The 52-year-old despot was made a top-ranking member of the National Order of the Legion d'Honneur in 2001, when he took office.
But the medal has caused considerable embarrassment in recent years, as Assad began massacring his own citizens during the on-going civil war in Syria.
A week ago French, American and British forces bombed chemical weapons facilities run by Assad, prompting fury from his regime.
President Emmanuel Macron's government began proceedings to have the Legion d'Honneur rescinded, but Assad has now got rid of the award himself.
An Assad spokesman said: 'The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has officially returned the decoration of Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor granted to President Assad by former French President Jacques Chirac.'
He said that it was posted back to Paris via the Romanian Embassy in Damascus because it was 'a decoration awarded by a slave regime of the United States that supports terrorism.'
The spokesman accused France in taking part in 'tripartite aggression alongside the United States and the United Kingdom'.
The Damascus strikes followed a chemical weapons attack carried out by Assad's forces on April 7 in the Syrian city of Douma.
Around 3000 people a year receive the controversial Legion d'Honneur, which was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
Other recipients include Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the late Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Sex scandal Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein also got one, as did disgraced cycling drugs cheat Lance Armstrong.