“There has been use of chemical weapons in Syria,” claimed French President Emmanuel Macron. “In that context, France’s action is threefold,” added the 40-year-old centrist leader.
“First, we continue to exchange technical and strategic information with our allies to define our reaction, which will take place in the coming days. Second, we are strengthening our diplomatic action for the prohibition of chemical weapons. Third, we are taking action to help the civilian population to open humanitarian access with the UN and NGOs in the field.”
Macron’s statement occurred as French military forces are preparing for an impending action against Syria, using air and naval forces.
The military option has sparked a fierce debate in the country where a number of politicians, mostly from the right, have vowed their concern that France could be acting prematurely upon a lack of evidence that the chemical attack that took place days ago in Douma has been carried out by Bashar Al-Assad’s government.
“Despite US pressure, (former President) Jacques Chirac had avoided France the disastrous adventure of a war in Iraq,” wrote former Minister Thierry Mariani. “If Macron strikes Syria, unilaterally with Donald Trump, he violates the United Nations Charter which remains the keystone of international relations, he will act like (former President) George W. Bush,” echoed Jacques Myard, a former Deputy at the National Assembly.
“Europe pays the consequences of the war in Libya, including the explosion of migration flows. Will we reiterate the same potentially devastating mistakes in Syria? Do we really want to follow the Americans and the irresponsible warmongers in another Iraq?” asked Front National (FN)’s leader Marine Le Pen.
From a military standpoint, France could launch air strikes using Rafale jet fighters equipped with SCALP cruise missiles taking off from France’s Saint Dizier base or from other bases in Jordan and the EAU. The other option would be to strike from the multimission frigate l’Aquitaine also equipped with cruise missiles (MDcN) and currently positioned in international waters.
The main concern for the French military will likely be the Russian-made S-300, S-400 anti-aircraft defenses of the Syrian military.