LAST_UPDATESun, 20 May 2018 4pm

France Says Mulls Strikes Against Syrian Gov't Forces If Toxic Gas Attacks Proven

Jean Yves le DrianJean Yves le Drian

PARIS -- France was envisaging military operation against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if their responsibility in chemical arms attacks would be confirmed, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said on Wednesday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that he would proceed to military strikes against government installations if there was a new use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad's forces when these attacks are lethal and the government's responsibility is proven, Le Drian told lawmakers.

Speaking to reporters from the Association of Presidential Press (APP), Macron, on Tuesday, reaffirmed that the use of chemical weapons would represent a "red line."

"If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made," he said.

"Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population," he added.

Recent reports said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had used chlorine gas in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus in January.

The Syrian government has repeatedly rejected allegations of using chemical arms which it said were handed to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as part of 2013 accord brokered by Moscow and Washington.