PARIS - France has proof the Syrian
government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week and
will decide whether to strike back when all the necessary
information has been gathered, President Emmanuel Macron said on
France is expected to join the United States and Britain in
carrying out air strikes or some other form of attack in
response to the use of the weapons but it remains unclear when
that might happen or even if it definitely will.
"We have proof that last week, now 10 days ago, that
chemical weapons were used, at least with chlorine, and that
they were used by the regime of (President) Bashar al-Assad,"
Macron said, without giving details on the evidence or how it
The attack on the town of Douma on April 7 killed dozens of
people, including children.
"Our teams have been working on this all week and we will
need to take decisions in due course, when we judge it most
useful and effective," Macron told broadcaster TF1 when asked
whether a red line had been crossed.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday morning:
"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be
very soon or not so soon at all!"
Macron said France wanted to remove the Syrian regime's
chemical weapons capabilities. When asked whether those would be
the targets of strikes he said:
"When we decide it, and once we have verified all the
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The French army is preparing itself for a possible riposte
as it waits for the political green light, military sources told
Reuters, with several sources underscoring the difficulty of
outlining the objectives of such an operation.
The sources said if France were to attack, the strikes would
most likely come from warplanes rather than its naval frigate
off the Lebanese coast, and that they would likely to take off
from France rather than its Middle East bases.
The subject of chemical weapons' use in Syria has been a
thorny issue for Macron. He has warned that he would not accept
the use of chemical weapons, which he said was a "red line" that
would draw French action, even unilateral.
However, after persistent reports of chlorine attacks over
the last year, his foreign minister and aides have been more
nuanced saying a response would hinge on French intelligence
proving both the use of chemicals and fatalities, and a riposte
would most likely be in coordination with the United States.
"France will not allow any escalation that could harm the
stability of the region as a whole, but we can't let regimes
that think they can do everything they want, including the worst
things that violate international law, to act," Macron said.