Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Is Poor Military Training Causing a Larger Death Toll in Gaza?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Villepin Criticises France for Not Speaking Out on Gaza

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad reaches for T-Mobile

Read more

  • Gaza ceasefire crumbles as Israel resumes military operations

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • €2.5mn of cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

France

France ready to 'punish' those behind Syria gas attack

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-27

President François Hollande told a gathering of French ambassadors Tuesday that France is ready to "punish" those responsible for a suspected poison gas attack near Damascus last week, calling it a "heinous decision to gas innocents".

President François Hollande told a gathering of French ambassadors on Tuesday that France was ready to "punish" those responsible for a suspected poison gas attack outside Damascus last week, calling the move a "heinous decision to gas innocent people".

"France is ready to punish those who took the vile decision to gas innocent people," he said in a televised speech in Paris, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was likely behind the attack.

Hollande's comments come as the United States and Britain are drawing up plans for a possible military strike on Syrian targets.

Syrian opposition groups say more than 1,300 people died in a toxic gas attack last Wednesday as regime forces bombarded rebel zones east and southwest of Damascus. Doctors without Borders, a French medical aid group, said that 355 people died of the 3,600 they treated following the alleged attack.

The Assad regime has categorically denied using chemical weapons in the attack.

"Our responsibility today is to look for the most appropriate response to the exactions of the regime," Hollande said, adding that the "chemical massacre in Damascus cannot be left without a response".

"This civil war today threatens world peace," he said of the Syrian conflict.

Hollande also announced that France would increase its military support to the main Syrian opposition body and referred to a 2005 United Nations resolution on the "responsibility to protect civilians".

"I have decided to increase our military support to the Syrian National Coalition," he said without elaborating.

US 'ready to go'

Tensions have ratcheted up dramatically in recent days as Washington and Britain have warned Syria's regime that it will face action over the alleged chemical weapons strikes in Damascus, while Russia has warned that a possible military strike would have "catastrophic consequences" for the region.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday that US military forces in the region are "ready to go" if President Barack Obama gives the order to strike Syrian targets. Britain has said it was also reviewing contingency plans for a "proportionate" intervention in Syria.

Israeli citizens, worried about a possible retaliatory attack if Western powers launch a strike against Damascus, have been receiving state-issued gas masks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday to "respond forcefully" to any attempt to target Israel.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-08-27

  • SYRIA

    US 'ready' for possible Syria strike, defence chief says

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN visits alleged chemical victims despite sniper attack

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    France urges ‘force’ if Syria chemical attack confirmed

    Read more

COMMENT(S)