Paris won’t let you know if it decides to strike Syria – govt spokesman

Paris won’t let you know if it decides to strike Syria – govt spokesman
Paris won’t announce strikes on Syria in advance if the decision is made, the government spokesman said a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced he was weighing a military assault on the war-torn country.

“If the government decides to strike [Syria], I won’t tell you, the President of the Republic won’t tell you,” Christophe Castaner said, speaking to BFMTV on Friday. He explained that the strikes won’t be announced publicly as doing so could put the lives of French servicemen intervening in Syria at risk. 

According to the spokesman, when “the time comes,” Paris will inform both the National Assembly and the Senate in the parliament. “However, it is important that the strikes should be kept secret because the protection of France’s interests is at stake,” he added.
Castaner noted that the attack will be conducted “if the conditions are right,” without going into further details. “There are discussions in the international arena, if strikes take place, they will be coordinated,” he concluded.

The possibility of French military strikes on Syria has been a hot topic since Thursday, when Emmanuel Macron announced he was weighing military action. The French leader rushed to pin the blame on the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Douma on Saturday, without providing any evidence or sources. The announcement came even before an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team reached the site of the alleged attack. The once rebel-held enclave of Douma was completely liberated by Syrian government troops on Thursday, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. 

READ MORE: Lavrov: Intel services of ‘a state’ that promotes Russophobia behind ‘staged’ Douma chemical attack

The alleged incident in Douma, 10km from Damascus, was reported by rebel-linked activists, as well as the controversial White Helmets organization. The incident affected dozens of people, reports claim. 
The West swiftly pointed the finger at the Syrian government, which has denied the accusations. Both Damascus and Moscow are calling for an international investigation into the alleged attack. The Russian military says that the incident might have been staged, as units on the site found no traces of chemical weapons. Moscow said it has warned in recent months about false-flag attacks being prepared. 

France is not the only country threatening an attack on Syria. US President Donald Trump has warned that a “big price” would be paid for Douma and tweeted that the missiles “will be coming, nice and new and smart.” Later, he attempted to clarify his enigmatic tweet, saying that he had never specified when the US would conduct an attack on Syria.

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