France's Macron Says He Has Convinced Trump To Stay In Syria

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Appearing in a two-hour live broadcast on French television BFM and online investigative site Mediapart, the 40-year-old leader said the U.S., Britain and France had "full worldwide legitimacy to intervene" in order to enforce global humanitarian law.

Also on Saturday, the French Foreign Ministry released a seven-page long assessment of the alleged chemical attack in Syria's Douma on April 7, which concluded that there was no other plausible explanation than a chemical attack coordinated by the Syrian military.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he convinced US President Donald Trump not to withdraw troops from Syria and instead commit "for the long-term". Macron insisted the Western allies had "complete global legitimacy to act" in Syria.

"We have not declared war on the regime of Bashar al-Assad", the 40-year-old centrist said at the start of a marathon two-hour interview with BFM television to mark nearly a year in office.

"What I want you to understand is that we have full global legitimacy in intervening in this case", Macron said.

American objectives in Syria have not altered, the White House said Sunday, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants U.S. troops home "as quickly as possible".

Macron added that Russian Federation, which backs Assad politically and militarily, had made itself complicit in the Syrian government's actions.

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The U.S. -led operation won broad Western support.

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria", he said.

But Macron again argued his first major military intervention as president was necessary to send a signal that the use of chemical weapons against civilians would not go unpunished.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in London that the West had tried "every possible" diplomatic means to stop Assad from using chemical weapons.

The strikes followed a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, outside Damascus, where Syrian forces have always been battling rebels. "This is not about intervening in a civil war".

Trump said the USA was prepared to keep up the economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

As for his allies, Macron suggested France had helped change Trump's mind on the need to stay involved in the conflict. The U.N. Security Council met to debate the strikes, but rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies. That did not mean military strikes would continue.

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