France convinced United States to 'stay in Syria': Macron


The U.S., United Kingdom and France jointly launched strikes early on Saturday targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons warehouse and a command center linked to chemical weapons located west of Homs, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said at a joint news conference with American Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

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

"It was retaliation, not an act of war", Macron said in justifying the operation a day before the French parliament was set to debate it.

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 on Syria - in which the US, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting three chemical weapons facilities in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on 7 April - were the first major military operation since Macron's election in May previous year.

"We have full global legitimacy in intervening in this case", Macron said.

"We have seen a regime appearing to think they can use chemical weapons with impunity".

While this operation was not sanctioned by the United Nations, Syria was supposed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal under a 2013 UN resolution, he said.

Syrians rally in Damascus in support of Assad's military
Here is the information the Western countries say they have about the suspected Syrian poison gas assault on Douma. Mr Putin warned about potential "chaos" in a phone conversation with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani .

"Ten days ago, President Trump said the USA's will is to disengage from Syria", Macron said during a TV interview.

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term", Macron told veteran journalists Jean-Jacques Bourdin and Edwy Plenel.

The White House, however, pushed back on the reports. "In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region".

Le Drian insisted it was important to continue talking to Russian Federation, and that Macron's trip to St. Petersburg at the end of May would go ahead as planned.

Mr Macron said "we can not tolerate the normalisation of the use of chemical weapons", in a statement.

Macron added that the strikes on Syria had been "perfectly carried out".

"The president immediately realized the seriousness of these attacks", the first advisor said.