Macron Says He Convinced Trump to Limit Airstrikes on Syria

This weekend, France, the UK, and the US joined forces to launch 105 missiles on Syria, targeting chemical weapons facilities. The targets were two military bases, and a scientific research center in Damascus, used to produce chemical weapons.

These strikes come in response to a major chemical attack last week in Douma that resulted in dozens of deaths. The attack that is believed to have been perpetrated by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. British prime minister Theresa May announced that the strike had gone according to plan, and that they had succeeded in avoiding any civilian casualties.

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According to French president Emmanuel Macron, in a phone call before the airstrikes, he convinced president Donald Trump to keep American troops in Syria and limit the strikes. Speaking during a three-hour live TV interview on Sunday night, Macron recounted, “Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria’. We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Trump denies that he ever changed his mind. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated shortly after the interview, “The President has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible.”

Now, his claimed denied, Macron is trying to backtrack: “I did not say that either the U.S. or France will remain militarily engaged in the long term in Syria,” he said after a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The lone target of military engagement in Syria, he says, is ISIS.

This attack has stirred tensions with Russia, which backs the human rights disaster that is the Assad regime. However, Russia has confirmed the allies’ statement that no civilians were harmed during the air strike.