In what would be a complete change in President Donald Trump’s desire for the U.S. involvement in Syria, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted he wants the U.S. to increase its military operations in the region.
Macron is set to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday that will touch on topics such as trade, economic relations and military cooperation.
“I will advocate for militarism in front of the Congress,” Macron said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
Macron also said he has a “special relationship” with the American president, citing similarities he saw with Trump.
“Both of us are probably the maverick of the systems on both sides,” Macron said. “President Trump’s election was unexpected in your country and probably my election was unexpected in my country.”
France joined the U.S. and the U.K. to conduct airstrikes on April 13, one week after it was suspected that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.
The airstrikes were conducted in locations where chemical weapons storage and production facilities were thought to be near the area of Damascus.
Declassified French documents claim the government of Syria has carried out a number of chemical attacks on its own people dating back to April 4, 2017, when an attack in the Idlib province in northern Syria left 80 dead.
A U.S. report cited “multiple media sources, the reported symptoms experienced by victims, videos and images showing two assessed barrel bombs from the attack, and reliable information indicating coordination between Syrian military officials before the attack.”
The U.S. report also claims the Syrian government didn’t use just chlorine in its attack, but that the victims’ symptoms indicate they were exposed to sarin, a deadly nerve agent.
Macron maintains that more needs to be done when it comes to the destabilized region, suggesting that U.S. involvement is crucial as America is “one of the last resorts” when something goes wrong in the world.
Macron added that his country will be depending on the U.S. when the conflict in Syria does eventually end, saying, “We will have to build a new Syria afterwards.”
Just two days after the joint airstrikes, Macron said during an interview with a French television station that he had convinced Trump to remain involved in the region
“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria. We convinced him it was necessary to stay,” he said. “I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term.”
But after Macron’s statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump’s goals for military involvement in Syria had not changed.
“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return,” Sanders said.
“In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”
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