France convinced Trump to stay in Syria, says Macron

Donald Trump briefed on Russia and Syria

SkyDonald Trump briefed on Russia and Syria

The French leader claimed that he was responsible for convincing Donald Trump to "stay" in Syria.

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".

"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. "We convinced him that it was necessary to stay".

On Friday, Trump said he "ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad".

Macron said in an interview on Sunday that restricting the missile strikes to specific targets was not necessarily Trump's initial plan.

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.

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.

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He reaffirmed that there was proof of chemical attacks, adding: "We had reached a point where these strikes were necessary to give back the (international) community some credibility".

The French leader accused Russian Federation of "systematically building" the worldwide community's inability to implement 2013 deal on Syria's chemical weapons and said Moscow is an "accomplice" of Syrian regime.

He said France now wants to involve Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

"These strikes against Syria engage us in a way with unpredictable and potentially dramatic consequences", she warned on Twitter. "We can not tolerate the banalisation of the use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and for our collective security".

Macron added that the strikes on Syria had been "perfectly carried out".

The French intelligence report said no deaths from mechanical injuries were visible and all symptoms were characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid.

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