Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Macron: France To 'Strike' If Syria Used Chemical Weapons On Civilians

Macron: France To 'Strike' If Syria Used Chemical Weapons On Civilians

He acknowledged that French intelligence services don't have the necessary proof to this day that "chemical weapons banned by the treaties have been used against civilian populations".

"As soon as such proof is established, I will do what I said, ' Macron warned, while adding that 'the priority is the fight against the terrorists, the jihadists". While U.N. officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000. Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russian President Vladimir Putin have said that attack was fabricated and that a conventional airstrike hit a rebel cache of chemical weapons.

"On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line", Macron told reporters, according to Reuters.

Questions have been raised about the lack of French reaction to growing evidence that Syrian forces are still using chlorine gas and possibly other substances against opposition forces and civilians.

In a sign of cabinet tensions, Florence Parly, the defence minister, said the new national service could not be made obligatory, but she was contradicted by Gérard Collomb, the interior minister.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) matched in January signatures in samples taken from the chemical weapons handed over by the Syrian regime in 2014 to those taken from the deadly 2013 sarin nerve gas attacks in Aleppo and a 2017 attack in Idlib.

The French leader has set out a "red line" on this issue and he said that this had not changed.

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