President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that “France will strike” if chemical weapons are used against civilians in Syria in violation of international treaties, according to Reuters.
Macron said last May that the use of chemical weapons would represent a “red line”. In a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday expressed concern over signs that chlorine bombs had been used against civilians in Syria.
“On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line,” Macron told reporters. “If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made.”
“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population.”
In recent weeks, rescue workers, aid groups and the United States have accused Assad regime of repeatedly using chlorine gas, which it possesses legally for uses such as water purification, as a chemical weapon against civilians in Ghouta and Idlib.
On Tuesday, the vice-president of the Syria Civil Defence, or “White Helmets”, volunteer force said France should stop talking and take real action.
Earlier this month, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV that "all indications show us today that the Assad regime is using chlorine gas at the moment" in attacks on rebel-held areas.
In the past two years, a joint UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inquiry found the Assad regime used the nerve agent sarin and several times used chlorine as a weapon.