France Warns Syrian Government About Chemical Weapons
Earlier this week, the President of France expressed some very strong words directed at Syrian President Bashir Assad. President Emanuel Macron stated that he would order his military forces, which are currently supporting a rebel alliance in Syria, would strike government targets if there is evidence of chemical weapons used against civilian populations.
The comments were made during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who happens to be the strongest ally that Syrian President Assad has at this time. President Macron described chemical weapons as a red line that he is willing to cross. Even though the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces has been investigated by the United States and by United Nations observers, France has not directly looked into this issue, but geopolitics analysts believe that this situation could change in the near future.
Analysts also commented that President Macron’s conversation with the President Putin could be considered a fair warning that air strikes carried out by French forces could result in Russian casualties. Although the current position held by France in Syria is focused on decimating the ISIS terrorist organization, the European power has given material support to Syrian rebels; moreover, French politicians are predominantly opposed to the bellicose actions conducted by President Assad against civilian populations who are aligned with the rebellion.
Syrian rebels have been making progress in their advance towards Damascus; this situation was curtailed last week by Syrian government forces supported by Iranian militias as well as by Russian soldiers. French observers in Syria are closely monitoring the conflict and looking for signs of overwhelming force or the use of chlorine gas. In 2013, President Assad signed a treaty banning the use of chemical weapons, but there have been reports of such attacks at least three times in recent years. United States President Donald Trump authorized the launching of a missile strike against a Syrian airfield after observers reported a chlorine gas attack in 2017, and Russian forces were alerted ahead of the strike. President Macron’s exchange with President Putin can also be considered a general alert at a time when Russian military contractors are being killed at a faster rate.
Syrian relief workers have criticized France for not taking stronger action against the despotic and forceful rule of President Assad; in turn, French officials have responded that they are seeking a cease fire agreement that will be supported by the United Nations. Russian officials do not believe that a cease fire can be agreed upon at this time.
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