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France ready to strike Syria if chemical arms use verified: Spokesperson

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-09-14 10:41
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech on stage next to a placard reading "do more for those who have less" during the presentation of an anti-poverty plan, in Paris, on September 13, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

PARIS - France would be considering action against Syria if the use of chemical weapons against rebels in the Idlib region be verified, the foreign ministry's spokesperson said on Thursday.

"We are particularly vigilant with respect to the prospect of the Syrian regime's renewed use of chemical weapons. France ... will stand ready to act in case of a verified, lethal use of these weapons, in close cooperation with its closest partners," Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing.

In April, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the French armed forces to intervene in coordination with American and British forces to destroy alleged clandestine chemical arsenal in Syria.

Von der Muhll expressed concerns over violence escalation in rebel-held Idlib region, warning that "a large-scale offensive ... would have disastrous consequences. It would result in a major new humanitarian and migratory disaster..."

In April, the United States, along with Britain and France, launched airstrikes against Syrian targets, followed reports of suspected chemical weapons use in Douma district on the outskirts of Syrian capital Damascus on April 7.

The Syrian government had strongly denied the allegation, calling for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to send a fact-finding mission for investigations. However, the three nations carried out the strike on the day the mission just arrived in Damascus.

US, British and French leaders had faced challenges and criticism from lawmakers following the US-led airstrikes on Syria while protests across the three countries were held against the attack.

On the same day, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting over the missile attacks at Russia's request, but failed to approve a resolution condemning the bombardment.

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