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French PM promises 'proportionate' Syria action

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French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday “no one could deny” that the Syrian regime had used nerve gas and that France was “determined to punish the use of chemical weapons”.


French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday that “no-one could deny the reality” of the deadly August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria, and that the responsibility lay firmly with the Damascus regime.

Speaking to the press following a meeting of senior lawmakers at which evidence was presented for attacking Syria, Ayrault said France “was determined to punish the use of chemical weapons by the regime of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad with firm and proportionate action”.

“Action would be neither aimed at toppling the regime nor of liberating Syria,” he added, saying that France still held out for a political solution to the two-and-a-half-year civil war which has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

He added that while French President François Hollande was not constitutionally obliged to get parliamentary approval for a strike, a parliamentary debate “with no vote” would take place on Wednesday.

The announcement came as France publicly released details from its intelligence services about the chemical weapons attacks, attacks which Assad on Monday told the French media would have been "illogical". 

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