Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

France to 'strike' Syria if use of chemical bombs proven: Macron

France to 'strike' Syria if use of chemical bombs proven: Macron

President Emmanuel Macron said chemical attacks on civilians in Syria would constitute a "red line" that will lead to French air strikes.

The president said, "If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made".

"Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population", Macron added.

"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".

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While UN 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.

A joint investigation team comprising experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015.

Have chemical weapons been used in Syria? .

Last week, Macron called Russian President Vladimir Putin-who is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the ongoing civil war-to express his concerns about the use of chemical weapons.

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His comments follow numerous reports of suspected chlorine attacks in Syria since early January.

Damascus last month also denied carrying out chemical attacks and its ally Moscow denounced such charges as a "propaganda campaign", stressing the perpetrators had not been identified.

Receiving Putin at Versailles in May 2017, Macron had declared that France would respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Macron, who has pushed both the US and France to take a more active role in Syria, echoed Mattis' language in his remarks Tuesday.

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But Defense Minister Florence Parly was more reserved on Friday when asked if Damascus had crossed the "red line".

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