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

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

France has convinced U.S. President Donald Trump to "stay in Syria long-term" and to limit this weekend's strikes to chemical weapons sites, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday.

The French leader, who had made the use of chemical weapons in Syria a "red line", said one of his aims in Syria was to "remove the regime's chemical attack capabilities".

On Saturday, France in coordination with the USA and the United Kingdom conducted a series of military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad after it accused the latter of being responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Douma, Eastern Ghouta on April 7th.

"The red line set by France in May 2017 has been crossed", he said.

"The strikes against Syria are without proof, without a United Nations mandate, and against it, without a European agreement and without a vote of the French Parliament", Melenchon said on Twitter.

Last Sunday evening, Macron sat with a small group of advisors at the Elysee palace to watch numerous graphic images and videos of suffering children following an attack the previous day on Douma, which France and allies say was a chemical attack.

'We convinced him it was necessary to stay, ' he added.

On Friday, Trump said that the USA is "prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents". "We convinced him it was necessary to stay", Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return", she said.

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He added that Paris would work with all countries and that there were no changes to Macron's planned trip to Russian Federation next month.

He said France now wanted to involve Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

Meanwhile, leader of the far-right party Front National Marine Le Pen said with its decision to follow the United States and Britain to carry out the strikes, France lost "an opportunity to appear in the global scene as an independent power".

It comes after Putin warned there would be "consequences" for the strikes, which targeted chemical weapons facilities.

Macron invited Trump to assist to Bastille day celebrations a year ago and will travel to Washington on a state visit later this month.

"The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the global ban on the use of chemical weapons and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

President Emmanuel Macron ordered the military intervention in Syria alongside the United States and Britain in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week.

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