France ready to strike Syria if chemical weapons used

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – France is prepared to carry out military strikes on Syrian regime targets if chemical weapons were used in a recent government offensive to retake the northern province of Idlib, France’s top military official said on Thursday.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.

The Syrian regime has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive to the area, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.

On Tuesday, the UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

According to French daily Le Figaro, Armed Forces Chief Francois Lecointre told reporters he expected the final pockets of Daesh resistance in Iraq and Syria to be eradicated by the end of November.

The terrorist group, fought by an international coalition led by the United States, has already been expelled from most of the vast territories it had conquered since 2014 in Iraq and Syria.

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