France Has Not De­clared War On Syria Regime

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France Has Not De­clared War on Syria Regime PARIS (AFP) - Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron said Sun­day that French air strikes in Syria were not a dec­la­ra­tion of war against the regime of Bashar al-As­sad, adding that Paris had con­vinced Don­ald Trump to stay en­gaged in the conflict “for the long-term”.

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 in­ter­na­tional pow­ers to now push for a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to the bru­tal seven-year war.

“We have not de­clared war on the regime of Bashar al-As­sad,” the 40-year-old cen­trist said at the start of a marathon two-hour in­ter­view with BFM tele­vi­sion to mark al­most a year in of­fice.

But he again ar­gued it had been nec­es­sary to send a sig­nal that the use of chem­i­cal weapons against civil­ians would not go un­pun­ished.

Satur­day’s strikes tar­geted three al­leged chem­i­cal weapons fa­cil­i­ties in re­sponse to what the West says was a gas at­tack on the town of Douma that killed dozens of peo­ple.

“What I want you to un­der­stand is that we have full in­ter­na­tional le­git­i­macy in in­ter­ven­ing in this case,” Macron said.

He said the U.S., France and Bri­tain tar­geted “ex­tremely pre­cise sites of chem­i­cal weapons use” in an op­er­a­tion that went off “per­fectly”.

And he fur­ther ar­gued that the op­er­a­tion was le­git­i­mate de­spite not be­ing sanc­tioned by the UN, re­tort­ing that un­der a 2013 UN res­o­lu­tion Syria was sup­posed to de­stroy its chem­i­cal weapons arse­nal.

As for his al­lies, Macron sug­gested France played a piv­otal role in chang­ing Trump’s mind on the need to stay in­volved in the conflict.

“Ten days ago, Pres­i­dent Trump was say­ing the United States of Amer­ica had a duty to dis­en­gage from Syria,” Macron said.

“I as­sure you, we have con­vinced him that it is nec­es­sary to stay for the long-term,” he told vet­eran jour­nal­ists Jean-Jac­ques Bour­din and Edwy Plenel, charged with the two-hour grilling.

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