France's Macron takes harder line on Syria, asserting 'proof' of chemical attack

Lionel Bonaventure POOL AFP | Former French president François Hollande at the Elsyée Palace in Paris

Lionel Bonaventure POOL AFP | Former French president François Hollande at the Elsyée Palace in Paris

Speaking to Sky News this morning, the Chair of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Council (IISS) said a strike against Syria's rogue regime will be inevitable after French President Emmanuel Macron announced Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had "crossed his red lines" on the use of chemical weapons. He didn't elaborate on exactly what that proof is.

Trump said the USA was prepared to keep up the economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

An astonishingly volatile tweet from Trump about proposed U.S. intervention in Syria said: "Get ready Russian Federation, because they [missiles] will be coming, nice and new and "smart!".

"The tone was very direct, the two presidents were under no illusion about what was going to happen", the advisor told Reuters on Saturday, soon after the overnight air strikes.

Mr Macron said France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

The strikes were a response to the suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, outside Damascus, where Syrian forces have always been battling rebels.

French President Emmanuel Macron insists he will push ahead with railway labor reforms and other divisive plans, despite crippling strikes and fears that he is dismantling France's hard-won worker protections.

Mr Macron said the attack had been limited so far to Syria's chemical weapons facilities.

Saying that public anger "doesn't stop me", Macron said he would "go to the end" of the train reforms, meant to prepare the national SNCF railway to open to competition.

Macron kept up the drumbeat for likely war with his claim of evidence that chemical weapons were used in the attack, although he did not elaborate.

A day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching unprecedented strikes against regime targets, Macron insisted the intervention was legitimate and urged worldwide powers to push for a diplomatic solution to the brutal seven-year war.

The French president said he was working closely with the United States on a possible response.

Meanwhile, the Russian military said the Syrian government is now in full control of Duoma, once held by rebels opposing Assad.

Macron said he had planned to travel to Turkey to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He spoke during a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to the supreme leader of ally Iran.

Asked if and when Syrian facilities would be targeted, Macron replied: "When we decide, and we will have to verify all the information".

The talks stressed that threats of some Western countries to attack Syria, "based on the lies fabricated by these countries and their tools of the terrorist organizations inside Syria, came after the liberation of the eastern Ghouta and the failure of a new bet of those upon which these countries have relied in the war on Syria".

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