French president Emmanuel Macron to reintroduce national service to France


Despite being repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons, Damascus has strongly denied having them; it destroyed its arsenal several years ago, and their complete destruction was subsequently confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Syrian regime, headed by President Bashar Al-Assad, has used chemical weapons 211 times since the start of the crisis, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said yesterday.

Some 109 occurred after the 2015 United Nations adoption of Resolution 2209 which condemns any use of chemicals as a weapon in the Syrian Civil War and threatens to use force if chemical weapons are used again in the conflict.

But Mr Macron said French intelligence had so far found no evidence that banned chemical weapons had been used.

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According to Washington, at least six chlorine attacks have been reported since early January in rebel areas, with dozens injured. The Syrian opposition said a government helicopter dropped the bomb on Saraqeb, in the north-western province of Idlib. "As soon as such proof is established, I will do what I said", Macron told France's presidential press corps. "The priority is the fight against the terrorists".

He added that is such proof is found, France will strike the places from where the shipments of chemical weapons are originating.

Following a deadly chemical weapons attack near Damascus in 2013, the United States and Russian Federation agreed a plan with Syria to remove and destroy its chemical weapons stockpile within a year. They also claim that the Syrian regime used the nerve agent sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others.