French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday put up a fervent defence of his decision to join a tripartite airstrike campaign in Syria as punishment for the Damascus regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
Macron made the remarks as he participated in a debate at the European Parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg when he touched upon the strikes conducted by France, the UK and the United States on the night of April 13 that led to a controversy in western politics and sparked anti-war protests, reports Efe news.
“If you believe in multilateralism, if you believe in the force of law and of what is right, then at some point in time you have to decide that you cannot simply cave to the cynicism of those who do not support that,” said the French President.
The airstrikes against alleged chemical weapons factories in Syria came in response to an attack on the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma on April 7 that killed at least 70 people, including 40 apparently showing symptoms consistent with those triggered by exposure to chemical toxins.
Harrowing images of dead and dying children in Douma, which at the time was under rebel control although it has since been recaptured by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad with the help of Russian firepower, spread quickly on social media.
Macron clarified that no member of the international coalition, a framework already engaging the Islamic State terror group in Syria, had declared war on Assad and insisted that the right to take action against the use of chemical weapons had been adopted by all members of the UN Security Council.
He lamented that Russia had blocked the Security Council from sanctioning action against Assad’s facilities on previous occasions that chemical gas was allegedly used in the war-torn nation.
“We need to stand up, we need to defend our rights, what are we going to say? Our rights just for us, our principals just for us, reality for everyone else? No, no.”
He reiterated that the precision airstrikes on Syria caused no human casualties but had wiped out three alleged chemical plants.
Syria and its main allies Russia and Iran denied any involvement in the Douma attack.