Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

France convinced U.S. to 'stay in Syria': Macron

France convinced U.S. to 'stay in Syria': Macron

"I ordered the French armed forces to intervene tonight, as part of an worldwide operation conducted in coalition with the United States of America and the United Kingdom and directed against the clandestine chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime", Mr Macron said.

"The president of the Republic said he wanted the dialogue between France and Russian Federation to continue and intensify in order to bring peace and stability to Syria", Macron's office said after the call, which came as the West ponders possible strikes on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.

"We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term".

"We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons (sites), after things got a little carried away over tweets", he said.

Le Drian said France, which has backed opponents of Assad throughout the civil war, would swiftly take new political initiatives to find a solution to the crisis.

Macron went on national television TF1 Thursday to defend his efforts to transform the way the French work.

"Whenever the Syrian army achieves victory in the field, some western countries rise their voices and intensify their movements in an attempt to change the track of events", Assad said, according to SANA.

Despite soaring tensions with Russia, Macron stressed the need to "talk to everyone" in pursuing a Syrian settlement, saying his plans to visit Moscow in May remain unchanged.

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France said on Saturday it would not hesitate to strike Syrian government targets again if the chemical red line was crossed, but that no new strikes were planned at this stage, adding that it would renew a push for peace through dialogue with Russian Federation.

The U.S. -led operation won broad Western support.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in London that the West had tried "every possible" diplomatic means to stop Assad from using chemical weapons.

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

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.

On Friday, the United States, France and the United Kingdom launched a series of strikes on a research laboratory and two storage facilities associated with Syria's chemical weapons program.

The 40-year-old leader said the U.S., Britain and France had "full global legitimacy to intervene" in order to enforce worldwide humanitarian law. But France appears likely to strike Syria regardless, security analysts said. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

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