France convinced US to ‘stay in Syria’: Macron

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – 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.

On Saturday, France in coordination with the U.S. and the U.K. 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.

"Ten days ago, Donald Trump said that the United States had a vocation to disengage and we convinced him that we had to stay in the long term, we also convinced him to limit strikes to chemical facilities," Macron said during a two-hour interview to French media outlets RMC, BFMTV and Mediapart to mark his 1st year in office.

Macron said the strikes were legal and an act to implement international resolutions and enforce international law and not to declare war on Syrian regime.

"France, like its allies, did not declare war on the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, we only worked to ensure that international law […] Security Council resolutions, do not remain dead letters."

"Our allies had evidence that chemical weapons had been used, and we had proof that these weapons could be attributed to the Syrian regime, which led us to conduct this intervention," Macron added.

The French leader accused Russia of "systematically building" the international community's inability to implement 2013 deal on Syria's chemical weapons and said Moscow is an "accomplice" of Syrian regime.

He said that in order to find a lasting solution in Syria, "we need to talk with Iran, Russia and Turkey."

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