France to strip Syria’s Bashar al-Assad of Legion d’Honneur

France will strip Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the country's prestigious Legion d'Honneur award, a source in the French president’s office has said.

France to strip Syria's Bashar al-Assad of Legion d'Honneur
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) is greeted by then French President Jacques Chirac in 2001. Photo: AFP
The news, revealed by the French press, comes after France joined the UK and US in launching military strikes on targets in Syria in response to a suspected deadly gas attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma. 
Assad was was made a knight of the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour), the country's highest award, in 2001 by former French president Jacques Chirac. 

Ten names that brought 'dishonour' to France's Legion of Honour

But the Syrian President isn't the only honoured person who is looking to lose the award. 
In October 2017, the French government revealed it had also started the process to strip the award from Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein after a wave of allegations by women accusing him of sexual harassment, groping and rape.
French President Emmanuel Macron's office has said it plans to conduct a review of how the honour is awarded. 

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Macron to award London Legion d’Honneur for helping France fight Nazi Germany

France's Emmanuel Macron will head to London in June to present the city with his nation's highest accolade, the Legion d'Honneur, to cement cross-Channel ties even after Britain's exit from the EU.

Macron to award London Legion d'Honneur for helping France fight Nazi Germany
Photos: AFP

“Dear British friends, you are leaving the European Union but you are not leaving Europe,” the president wrote in an open letter published Saturday by The Times of London.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's dramatic June 18, 1940, appeal from London, where he had escaped with the remnants of France's army, for French citizens to resist while awaiting UK and US help in fighting Nazi Germany.

“The French know what they owe the British, who allowed our Republic to live. I am coming to London in June to award the city the Legion d'Honneur, in tribute to the immense courage of a whole country and people,” Macron wrote.

He also noted that “the UK has been a central player in the European project… a more influential player than the British have often themselves imagined.”

But Macron acknowledged that the uncertainties surrounding Brexit are far from settled, not least the fallout on trade relations.

“Ease of access to the European market will depend on the degree to which the European Union's rules are accepted, because we cannot allow any harmful competition to develop between us,” he said.

The French president was largely alone in acknowledging Britain's official departure from the EU as of midnight (2300 GMT) Friday, ending 47 years of participating in the Continent's project for an “ever-closer union among the
people's of Europe.”

In a television address Friday, he called Brexit a “historic warning sign” indicating that “we need more Europe.”