Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Cameroon's Constitutional Court rejects last petition for re-run

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Music stars, French art and a dead cat's renaissance

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Khashoggi Affair: Evidence mounts against Saudi Crown Prince

Read more

#TECH 24

Next stop space: Japanese company constructing nanotube 'space lift'

Read more

#THE 51%

The Gender Divide: Record number of women running in U.S. midterms

Read more

REPORTERS

Reporters: Brexit, a sea of uncertainty for fishermen

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Fishing in France's Grau du Roi harbour, a family tradition

Read more

FOCUS

French education reforms under tight scrutiny

Read more

ENCORE!

FIAC 2018: Paris's one-stop shop for Contemporary Art collectors

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

    France urges ‘force’ if Syria chemical attack confirmed

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN visits alleged chemical victims despite sniper attack

    Read more

  • SYRIA

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

    Read more

COMMENT(S)