TEHRAN (Press Shia) – French President Emmanuel Macron announced that his country will target the Syrian government's chemical weapons capabilities if it decides to take military action over an alleged chemical weapon in the Arab country.
Macron made the announcement following talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, noting that a decision would be "in the coming days", in conjunction with the US and UK, AFP reported on Tuesday.
"Our decision will not target allies of the regime or attack anyone but rather attack the regime's chemical capabilities," he said, adding that he did "not want an escalation."
British Prime Minister Theresa May also joined the US president, Donald Trump, on Tuesday in warning that her country would respond to the alleged Syrian gas attack in order to uphold the global ban on the use of chemical weapons.
In separate phone calls, the Trump, Macron and May agreed that the international community should work closely together to “make sure that the regime were held to account”.
A Downing Street spokesman said of the calls, “They agreed that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were utterly reprehensible and, if confirmed, represented further evidence of the Assad regime’s appalling cruelty against its own people and total disregard for its legal obligations not to use these weapons.
“They agreed that the international community needed to respond to uphold the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. They agreed they would continue working closely together and with international partners to ensure that those responsible were held to account,” the spokesman added, according to the Guardian.
The developments came after a suspected chemical weapons attack hit the Syrian town of Douma late on Saturday. It reportedly killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1,000 others.
Western countries rushed to blame the incident on the Syrian government. Damascus rejected the accusations as “chemical fabrications” made by the terrorists themselves in a bid to halt pro-government forces’ advances.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent an official invitation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to Douma and investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons there.
US President Trump, however, warned that Russia, Iran and Syria will have a “big price to pay” following the suspected chemical attack, saying his administration will soon be making “some major decisions” on Syria.
David F. Gordon, policy planning director at the State Department under President George W. Bush, said Trump was almost certainly looking to punish Assad more severely while limiting American engagement.
“What they’re probably searching for is: What can we destroy that weakens this guy?” Gordon said, according to New York Times.
“He has to do more than he did last time, and I think he does want to disrupt their capabilities. But I think it’s basically still the one shot — it may be in two waves or something, but I don’t think there’s an ongoing response to this.”