France has proof Syrian government conducted chemical weapons attack: Macron
13 April, 2018, 03:04 | Author: Sheila Harris
However, French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday said France has proof the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack and would decide whether to strike back when all the necessary information has been gathered. He didn't elaborate on exactly what that proof is. President Donald Trump has called for military action against Syria with planning overseen by Jim Mattis, the Defence Secretary and the U.S. national security team.
Contrary to the situation in 2013, when French-U.S. plans to strike the Assad regime for using chemical weapons were thwarted by a last-minute decision by then-U.S. president Barak Obama, surgical strikes against Syrian chemical weapon facilities or air bases are now complicated by the military presence of Russian Federation.
Trump warned Syria and Russian Federation on Wednesday that he was readying missile strikes on Syria in retaliation for the attack. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"
Government ministers in Britain agreed at an emergency meeting in London on the need for a response to the chemical weapons attack. "France will not allow any escalation that could harm stability in the region", he said.
The French president, who said he was in daily contact with President Trump, said any strikes would go after Syria's "chemical capabilities".
The global Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is due to send monitors to Douma, but it is how much evidence of any chemical attack might remain.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will discuss ways of ending "the chemical massacre" in Syria during a telephone call with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. "I say that as a friend of the United States and as a friend of the United Kingdom".
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Sir John Sawyers, the former head of MI6, called for a much more punitive and targeted attack on Syria than the operation authorised by Mr Trump past year against a Syrian airbase.
Assad said Thursday that Western threats to strike Syria are based on "lies" and seek to undermine his forces' advances near Damascus.
Assad spoke during a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader.
President Macron declared yesterday that he was certain that Syrian forces had used chlorine gas against civilians, but he appeared to hesitate over committing France to a military response.
The attack on the town of Douma on 7 April killed dozens of people, including children.
Amid the talk of military action, the Kremlin, a close ally of Assad, countered that more "serious approaches" were needed to combat the crisis.
There was no immediate confirmation or indication from Assad's government that Syrian troops entered Douma on Thursday.
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