For France's Macron, Syria red lines were credibility test

Hollande settles old scores with Macron in tell-all book

A day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching unprecedented strikes against regime targets, Macron yesterday insisted the intervention was legitimate and urged worldwide powers to now push for a diplomatic solution to the brutal seven-year war.

He said that in order to find a lasting solution in Syria, "we need to talk with Iran, Russia and Turkey".

The United States, Britain and France said they only hit Syria's chemical weapons capabilities and the strikes were not aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in the civil war.

The French leader claimed that he was responsible for convincing Donald Trump to "stay" in Syria. Macron insisted the Western allies had "complete worldwide legitimacy to act" in Syria.

"It was retaliation, not an act of war", Macron said in justifying the operation a day before the French parliament was set to debate it.

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

After a first phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump that night, a series of painstaking daily meetings with defense and foreign affairs officials took place to check the authenticity of images and information coming from Syria.

He added that he told Putin that Russian Federation was complicit in the use of chemical weapons by Syria's Assad.

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

"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said.

Obama had to backtrack in the face of congressional opposition, signaling USA fatigue in the Middle East and empowering Russia, Western military experts said at the time.

He continued: "Their chemical weapons production capacities have been destroyed".

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

He said the US, France and Britain targeted "extremely precise sites of chemical weapons use" in an operation that went off "perfectly". "It is not about regime change".

Speaking in a live TV interview, during which he was grilled on several subjects, Macron said: "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying "the United States should withdraw from Syria". "With those strikes, we have separated the Russians and the Turks on this".

"We cannot tolerate the trivialization of the use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and for our collective security", Macron added. That did not mean military strikes would continue.

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