France's President Emmanuel Macron says Syria operation was 'legitimate'

Sergio Conner
April 16, 2018

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria", Macron said during a two-hour grilling on French television, broadcast days after his government joined the USA and Britain in launching strikes against alleged Syrian regime chemical weapons facilities.

"We had proof that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime on Syrians, that's why we intervened", said Macron, adding that Russian Federation was an accomplice in the use of chemical weapons.

Macron defended the air strikes France, the United Kingdom, and U.S. carried out in Syria early Saturday in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on a Damascus suburb last week.

"I believe this chemical attack took place, I believe my red line was crossed", he told Putin in the Friday morning phone call, according to a close advisor at the Elysee palace. "The Turks condemned the chemical weapons".

'We convinced him it was necessary to stay, ' he added. "We convinced him that it was necessary to stay", Macron said, during a two-hour televised interview with several French media outlets.

Shortly after the interview aired, the White House said the U.S. mission in Syria "has not changed".

"We have not declared war on the regime of Bashar al-Assad", the 40-year-old centrist said in a combative TV interview. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return", she said.

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'Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria, ' Macron said.

Commenting further on the issue, Macron said that the Western strikes had split Turks from Russian Federation in Syria, as Ankara has approved the attack.

The French president nevertheless said he wanted to engage in dialogue with all parties involved, including Moscow, in order to find a political solution for Syria.

"We support the fact that our U.S., United Kingdom and French allies took on responsibility in this way as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council".

Macron said in a written statement that the attack had been limited to Syria's chemical weapons facilities and said the facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime were beyond doubt.

Inspectors for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were due to go to Douma Sunday after arriving in Syria shortly after Saturday's strikes, and have yet to report on any findings.

A day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching aggression on Syria, Macron insisted the intervention was "legitimate" and urged worldwide powers to push for a diplomatic solution to the seven-year war.

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