Macron threatens to attack Syria over chemical weapons

French President says his country will launch attacks if proof emerges that Syrian regime used banned chemical weapons against civilians.

Elad Benari ,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

France will launch attacks if proof emerges that the Syrian regime has used banned chemical weapons against its civilians, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday, according to the AFP news agency.

"We will strike the place where these launches are made or where they are organized," Macron was quoted as having told the presidential press corps.

At the same time, he added, that “today our services have not established proof that proscribed chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations."

"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, the jihadists".

The Syrian regime itself, either during or after the conflict, “will be answerable to international justice," he added.

Macron’s statement follows recent reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Last week, Arab media reported that at least 20 people were killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack in Saraqib.

Reports of the latest chemical weapons attack came days after the Trump administration accused Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's government of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver deadly chemicals, despite committing to abolish its chemical weapons program in 2013.

The Syrian regime denies having any connection to any chemical weapons attacks that have occurred in Syria since the start of the civil war there.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has in the past determined that civilians in Syria may have been exposed to chemicals even after the Syrian government agreed to the 2013 deal, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, to surrender its chemical weapons.

Syria and Russia have both dismissed the conclusions of the Joint Investigative Mission (JIM), an expert body set up by the OPCW, that Assad's government used chlorine gas in 2014 and 2015, and sarin in April 2017.