France's Macron says he convinced Trump to keep troops in Syria

Lionel Bonaventure POOL AFP | Former French president François Hollande at the Elsyée Palace in Paris

Insisting that the strikes were legitimate, Macron hailed the operation targeting Syrian chemical weapons facilities as a military success.

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.

Meanwhile, leader of the far-right party Front National Marine Le Pen said with its decision to follow the USA and Britain to carry out the strikes, France lost "an opportunity to appear in the worldwide scene as an independent power".

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term".

"But it was the world saying that we have had enough of the use of chemical weapons, the erosion of that taboo that has been in place for 100 years has gone too far under Bashar Assad", he said.

"The strikes against Syria are without proof, without a United Nations mandate, and against it, without a European agreement and without a vote of the French Parliament", Melenchon said on Twitter.

The U.S., France and the United Kingdom launched the airstrikes early Saturday in a joint operation, saying it was in response to the deadly chemical attack on Syrian civilians - an attack they linked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

However, he said that Russian Federation had made itself complicit in the Syrian regime's actions. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return", she said.

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Macron said in a statement that a target of the strike was the Syrian government's "clandestine chemical arsenal".

Le Drian said France, which has backed opponents of Assad throughout the civil war, would swiftly take new political initiatives to find a solution to the crisis.

The French leader, described as centrist and pro-free-market, is set to make a state visit to the US next week and is scheduled to travel to Russian Federation next month.

"We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons (sites), after things got a little carried away over tweets", he said.

Inspectors for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were due to go to Douma Sunday after arriving in Syria shortly after Saturday's strikes, and have yet to report on any findings.

France's participation in the US-led military operation in Syria sparked fierce debate at home on Saturday.

President Emmanuel Macron ordered the military intervention in Syria alongside the United States and Britain in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week.

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