France Prepared to Take Action in Syria, Says Hollande
French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that his country is prepared to take action against those responsible for last week’s deadly chemical attack in Syria.
"France is ready to punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents" in Syria last week, Hollande said at a conference with France's ambassadors, according to the Associated Press.
"I have decided to increase our military support to the Syrian National Coalition," the main Syrian opposition group in exile, he added.
France has not specified what preparation it is taking for any possible international action against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime.
On Monday Hollande told the local Le Parisien newspaper that time is running out for the Syrian regime and airstrikes are a possibility.
"Everything will come into play this week," he said. "There are several options on the table, ranging from strengthening international sanctions to airstrikes to arming the rebels.”
Hollande spoke with President Barack Obama on Sunday and told him that France, like Britain, would support him in a targeted military intervention, according to Le Parisien.
Over the past 48 hours U.S. leaders have held a whirlwind round of consultations with leaders from around the world. In addition to Hollande, there have been conversations with the Australian Prime Minister and leaders in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Obama has spoken several times to British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose country has reportedly been working closely with the United States in preparing a response to the alleged chemical attack.
Cameron is believed to have abandoned hope of securing any further meaningful response from the United Nations because of opposition from Russia, which has already vetoed several Security Council resolutions condemning the Assad regime, including one from last week after the chemical attack.
Senior U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday that the United States may launch strikes against the Syrian regime “as early as Thursday.”