France's Macron says he convinced Trump to stay in Syria long-term

Emmanuel Macron

"We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return".

The White House reacted Sunday night to France's claim that it "convinced" President Donald Trump to maintain the US military presence in Syria, shortly after the two allies took part in airstrikes against the Assad regime.

While it is unusual for a French president to present himself as driving USA policy in military matters in the Middle East, Macron and Trump have developed a friendly relationship over the past year. "With those strikes we have separated the Russians and the Turks on this".

Macron invited Trump to assist to Bastille day celebrations a year ago and will travel to Washington on a state visit later this month.

Mr Macron insisted the Western allies had "complete worldwide legitimacy to act" in Syria. "The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the worldwide ban on the use of chemical weapons and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

In accordance with a previously transmitted invitation, he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg global economic forum (SPIEF).

"We have complete worldwide legitimacy to act in this framework", he said.

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The United States, Britain and France said they only hit Syria's chemical weapons capabilities and the strikes were not aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in the civil war.

He said the military strikes early on Saturday had been "perfectly carried out" but were not a declaration of war on Syria.

Macron said his scheduled trip to Moscow next month would be maintained despite divergence on the Syrian crisis. The Western states have accused forces of Assad of an attack with the use of chemical weapons in Duma.

Inspectors from the independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are now in Damascus.

He also claimed France was the most active country in the diplomatic arena and at the United Nations, and said his country wanted to include Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria. There are no changes to his planned trip to Russian Federation next month, he said.

President Putin spoke to Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani by phone on Sunday, telling him that any new Western strikes on Syria would spark "international chaos".

The US said 105 missiles were launched and it believed none were intercepted by Syrian defences.

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