France's Macron Says He Persuaded Trump to Maintain Troops in Syria

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

Earlier this month, Mr Trump declared that the USA would "be coming out of Syria very soon".

As for his allies, Macron suggested France played a pivotal role in changing Trump's mind on the need to stay involved in the conflict.

"The U.S. mission has not changed - the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return".

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria", he said.

The US has about 2,000 personnel on the ground in eastern Syria supporting an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Mr Macron is expected to be in Ouvea on 5th May to mark the 30th anniversary of the event which soon afterwards ushered in the Matignon Accords between the rivalling pro- and anti-independence camps. "We convinced him it was necessary to remain there", he said. "With those strikes we have separated the Russians and the Turks on this. You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

The White House hasn't commented on Macron's claim, but President Trump is likely to swat down the notion that anyone told him what to do.

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

Macron added that the strikes on Syria had been "perfectly carried out". At the same time, Maron said that Paris hasn't declared a war on Damascus, despite the participation in anti-Syrian strikes. Syria vehemently denies this.

"He (Russian President Vladimir Putin) has understood it's not the case anymore".

"This (a chemical attack) very easily could happen in the United States if we're not smart, and if we're not conscious of what's happening", she said.

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

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.

Macron said his scheduled trip to Moscow next month would be maintained despite divergence on the Syrian crisis.

His marathon interview on French broadcaster BFMTV lasted almost three hours - and #MacronBFMTV was a top trend on Twitter late on Sunday evening. The Syrian leadership denied any involvement in the attack and invited the experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the reports.

Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people.

Russian Federation says the attack in Douma was staged, accusing the United Kingdom of orchestrating it.



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