French PM Shares 'Proof' Assad behind Chemical Attack
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has shared intelligence with lawmakers he says proves the chemical attack on 21 August came from government forces.
The dossier shared with the French parliament today (Monday) reportedly includes satellite images showing a large offensive on the Damascus neighborhood of Ghouta coming from government controlled areas to the East and West of the area held by rebel forces.
The intelligence is said to span nine pages and concludes that “Unlike previous attacks that used small amounts of chemicals and were aimed at terrorizing people, this attack was tactical and aimed at regaining territory.”
Lawmakers were also told of the reliability of footage shown of victims of the attack, with the PM emphasizing the "threat to national and global security" posed by the Syrian regime.
French President Francoise Hollande has aligned himself with the United States, coming out strongly in favour of a military strike on the regime of Bashar al-Assad in response to the use of chemical weapons. But in a similar vein to Barack Obama and his British counterpart David Cameron, Hollande has deferred to the French parliament to vote on the issue.
While the British parliament refused to back a strike on Syria, the US Congress is yet to vote on the issue, and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced today that his country would be sending a delegation to lobby against a military response.
In an interview today with the French daily Le Figaro, Assad responded to the news from Paris with a veiled threat of his own:
"To the extent that the policy of the French state is hostile to the Syrian people, this state will be its' enemy. This hostility will end when the French state will change policy. There will be repercussions, negative of course, for the French interests."