Macron says he 'convinced' Trump to stay in Syria ahead of strikes

Emmanuel Macron in a classroom before a televised interview in Berd'huis south of Paris

In a reference to Trump's comments on Twitter over the possibility of strikes, Macron added: "We have also convinced him that he must limit his strikes to chemical weapons, at a time when there was a media furore via tweet, as I'm sure you noticed".

Pointing to the overnight strike, another advisor to Macron said: "This is proof today that the political line he drew at the start of his mandate was meant to be respected".

He also claimed credit for convincing his USA counterpart Donald Trump to stay engaged in the conflict long-term.

Speaking to Fox News, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained Sunday that the U.S. will not withdraw its forces from Syria until it accomplishes its three primary goals, which include defeating the Islamic State, preventing chemical weapons use, and securing a solid position to monitor Iranian activities in the region.

"The president immediately realized the seriousness of these attacks", the first advisor said.

While it is unusual for a French president to present himself as driving U.S. policy on military matters in the Middle East, Macron and Trump have developed a friendly relationship over the past year. "It is worldwide community that has intervened, and has done so in an extremely precise way", he added and reiterated that France considers that it has sufficient evidence that Damascus is behind use of chemical weapons in city of Duma a little over a week ago.

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".

Saturday's strikes on Syria were the first major military operation since Macron's election in May a year ago.

The Elysee added the French president "wished that consultation between France and Russian Federation continue and intensify to bring peace and stability to Syria". A step for which Paris wants to have help of Moscow, who is one who must "push" Assad.

Mr Macron said both French and U.S. positions were in line, and the main aim in Syria was the "war against ISIS (Islamic State)". It is up to Russian Federation to exert pressure on it, he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was decried for not seeking parliamentary approval for Saturday's coordinated airstrikes. The head of government summoned president of Senate, Gérard Larcher, to his pair of National Assembly, François de Rugy, as well as to heads of parliamentary groups and of competent committees in Hemicycle.

Macron drew criticism Saturday from the far-left to the far-right. I see neir utility nor sense of attacking for attacking, to give feeling that something is done, without a strategy behind, "he told Journal du dimanche".



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