'We convinced him': Macron says he steered Trump on Syria strikes

'We convinced him': Macron says he steered Trump on Syria strikes

He continued: "Their chemical weapons production capacities have been destroyed".

On Friday, Trump said he "ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad".

He also said "ten days ago President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria".

French president Emmanuel Macron has claimed that he convinced Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria for the long term and limit Saturday's joint strikes to chemical weapons facilities.

Meanwhile, leader of the far-right party Front National Marine Le Pen said with its decision to follow the USA and Britain to carry out the strikes, France lost "an opportunity to appear in the worldwide scene as an independent power".

"What I want you to understand is that we have full worldwide legitimacy in intervening in this case", Macron said. The pair, who are reported to have a friendly relationship, reportedly spoke multiple times in the days before the military action was taken.

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term", he told veteran journalists Jean-Jacques Bourdin and Edwy Plenel, charged with the two-hour grilling.

Russian ambassador to US warns of 'consequences' following airstrikes in Syria
In announcing the strikes, Trump directly blamed Russian Federation for enabling the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons . Russia's envoy Nebenzia called on the United States , France and Britain "not to bring the world to such a risky threshold".

Macron also offered to play the role of intermediary between the United States and Russian Federation.

Limiting the strikes to these specific targets was not necessarily Trump's initial plan, Macron said. The U.S. has 2,000 special forces based in North-Eastern Syria fighting Islamic State militants along with a coalition of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

The White House did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

He said the military operation in Syria was legitimate and within the global community framework, and was not a declaration of war.

Macron added that Russian Federation, which backs Assad politically and militarily, had paved the way for the Syrian government's actions.

The strikes followed a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, outside Damascus, where Syrian forces have always been battling rebels. "They have not used chlorine themselves but they have methodically built the worldwide community's inability to act through diplomatic channels to stop the use of chemical weapons", he said.

The strikes launched by U.S., United Kingdom and France represent the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad's government by Western powers in the seven years of the Syrian conflict.

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