France has proof Assad regime used chemical weapons: Macron

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday (April 12) that he had evidence that chemical weapons were used in rebel-held enclave of Douma in Syria and that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was guilty, reiterating that attacking Damascus is necessary.

Macron was one of several Western leaders to enter the diplomatic crisis following last week’s attack on Douma, which left 70 people dead, including 40 who showed signs of exposure to chemical toxins, Efe news reported citing a report by the World Health Organization.

“We have evidence chemical weapons were used and that it was the regime who used them,” said Macron in a televised interview with TF1 broadcaster. “We will have decision to take in due course.”

Last week, an attack on Douma left at least 70 people dead, of which 40 showed signs of exposure to chemical toxins.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged against “any steps which could lead to an escalation of tensions”. Also on Thursday, the UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis, the BBC reported.

One of Macron’s closest European Union allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, distanced her country from the prospect of joining in any military action against Syria.

“Germany will not take part in possible military action, on which no decisions have yet been taken,” she told a press conference alongside Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

She also added that Germany would continue to support measures to show that use of chemical weapons was “unacceptable”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be organizing a Cabinet meeting to discuss the steps her country would take if US President Donald Trump followed through on his threats to strike Syria.

Trump warned Syria and Russia on Wednesday that he was readying missile strikes on Syria in retaliation for the attack.

He had also blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Iran for “backing Animal Assad” and warned they would have a “big price to pay”.

Both the Syrian regime and its main international backers Russia and Iran have denied responsibility for the alleged chemical attack and insist “there is a Western conspiracy” aimed at justifying military action in Syria.