French president says he will attack Syria if chemical weapons are found
French President Emmanuel Macron has threatened to bomb Syria's government troops if chemical weapons were found.
Published: February 14, 2018, 10:03 am
But the French military have not found any convincing evidence of the presence or use of chemical weapons by the government troops of the Syrian Republic against the civilian population of the country yet.
Macron stated that he was ready to strike at chemical weapons storage sites in Syria. “If we have evidence that banned chemical weapons … have been used, we will strike at the place where it is created or stored,” said Yahoo News agency, quoting the French leader.
According to Macron, to date, French intelligence services do not have reasonable evidence of the use of such weapons, however, “the situation is being monitored”.
“Today our agencies, our armed forces could not establish that chemical weapons were used against the civilian population,” Macron admitted after issuing the threat.
Meanwhile the Russian military said they have evidence that the al-Nusra Front terrorist group brought more than 20 containers with chlorine to a village in the Idlib province of Syria.
The Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said that it has information that al-Nusra Front terrorists and White Helmets were preparing to stage a provocation, involving chemical weapons in order to blame Damascus for the attack.
“On the evening of February 12, the Russian center for reconciliation received a telephone call from the resident a settlement in the Idlib province, informing about a forthcoming provocation, using poisonous chemicals, to air it on a foreign television channel. According to the person, on the afternoon of February 12, the al-Nusra Front militants delivered brought more than 20 bottles of chlorine and personal protective equipment on three cars,” the Russian military said as quoted by Sputnik News.
The Russian Defense Ministry has already questioned actions by the White Helmets, following the release of a controversial report by the UN-OPCW on the alleged chemical attacks in Syria directed by Damascus.
The Swedish NGO Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) has accused The White Helmets of falsifying information about its alleged work in Syria. According to SWEDHR the so-called “rescue” operations captured in White Helmets videos were staged as they were carried out on a dead child.
Damascus has repeatedly refuted allegations of the use of chemical weapons, stressing that it has had no such weapons in stock since 2014. They were removed from the state with the assistance of the US.
The destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal was also confirmed by the OPCW.
The United States, however blamed the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against their civilian population in the Khan Sheikhoun settlement in Idlib on April 4, 2017, that had left 80 people dead and injured 200 more.
Since the alleged Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack, Russia has been calling for a thorough probe into the incident, citing multiple accounts of terrorists in Syria possessing chemical weapons.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia said the Syrian government had consistently informed the international community on the issue, including the UNSC.
Even their success in Hollywood has not helped the White Helmets in funding their operation in Syria. A Netflix documentary called “The White Helmets” won an Academy Award for best short documentary last year.
The group, with 3 700 members face a major budget shortfall compared with last year, vice-president Abdulrahman Almawwas told reporters at a media briefing in Paris after he had met with an advisor to French President Macron.
“We have started to make the budget for 2018. The decrease is about $6 million (five million euros),” Almawwas said. The United States and Britain have been their main sponsors. Almawwas declined to identify the governments whose financial support is being withdrawn.
Macron is seen as struggling for influence in Syria, AFP reported.
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