French President Emmanuel Macron says he convinced President Donald Trump not to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and limit the airstrikes.
Macron spoke to France’s BFM television Sunday, marking one year in office, and two days after France joined the U.S. and Britain in airstrikes targeting Syria’s chemical weapons sites.
“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘The United States should withdraw from Syria,’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term,” Macron said.
Macron also said he told Trump that it was necessary to limit the airstrikes in Syria, suggesting Trump wanted to go further.
“We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons sites after things got a little carried away over tweets,” Macron told interviewers.
The White House has so far not responded to Macron’s interview. But Trump has yet to say exactly what the United States’ future plans in Syria are, other than warning of another harsh response if the country’s government again uses chemical weapons against civilians.
Macron said there is proof the Syrian regime used poison gas in Douma and that missile strikes were necessary to give the international community credibility. He also said Russia is complicit.
“They have not used chlorine themselves but they have methodically built the international community’s inability to act through diplomatic channels to stop the use of chemical weapons.”
Macron told BFM that France has not declared war on President Bashar al-Assad, but that it was necessary to show the Syrian leader that using poison gas on civilians will not go unpunished.