French President Emmanuel Macron said that France had joined the US and Britain in an ongoing operation of strikes to target “the capacities of the Syrian regime to produce and use chemical weapons”.
“We cannot tolerate the normalization of the use of chemical weapons,” he said in a statement issued shortly after huge explosions were heard in Syria’s capital early Saturday followed by the sound of airplanes overhead.
For Macron, “the facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime are not in doubt,” concerning the “deaths of dozens of men, women and children” in what he said was a chemical weapons attack on April 7 in Douma.
“The red line set by France in May 2017 has been crossed,” he said. “I have ordered the French army to intervene tonight as part of the international operation in coalition with the US and Britain directed against the secret chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of NATO expressed his support for Western strikes in Syria on Saturday after bombings targeting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.
“I support the actions taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and France... This will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Merkel: Air strikes necessary and appropriate
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday the air strikes against the Syrian regime were “necessary and appropriate” after the suspected chemical weapons attacks that killed dozens in Douma.
“We support the fact that our US, British and French allies ... assumed their responsibilities. The military intervention was necessary and appropriate,” Merkel said in a statement. The chancellor on Thursday had ruled out Germany joining any military action against Syria.