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Syria's war: France rules out 'confrontation' with Russia

Syria's war: France rules out 'confrontation' with Russia
From Al Jazeera - April 14, 2018

France's defence minister has ruled out "confrontation" and "escalation" following its joint military operation with the US and UK that attacked "targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities" in Syria.

The strikes early on Saturday came in response to asuspected chemical weapons attackin the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.

Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly told reporters the military action targeted the "main research centre" for Syria's chemical weapons programme and "two important production sites".

She added that France was not looking to escalate the conflict.

"We are not looking for a confrontation and refuse any logic of escalation," said Parly.

"That is why, with our allies, we ensured that the Russians were notified ahead of time."

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's foreign minister, said the Syrian government crossed a "red line" with the alleged chemical attack on Douma before calling the US-led response "targeted and proportionate".

"It was limited to specific objectives: The destruction of the Syrian regime's chemical capabilities to stop it from committing new chemical massacres," said Drian.

Earlier on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron said France could not tolerate the "trivialisation of chemical weapons".

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