Syria crisis: Putin warns France against 'ill-considered and dangerous actions'

French president expresses 'deep concerns' in phone call over escalating situation

Lydia Smith
Friday 13 April 2018 15:40
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Emmanual Macron says France has prood the Assad used chemical weapons in Syria

Vladimir Putin has warned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron against “ill-considered and dangerous actions” in Syria.

In a phone call over the escalating situation, Mr Macron expressed his “deep concerns” with the Russian leader.

According to a statement by the French presidency, Mr Macron called for dialogue between France and Russia to “continue and intensify” to bring peace and stability to Syria.

The Kremlin readout said that Mr Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a “thorough and objective probe".

The Russian leader warned against “ill-considered and dangerous actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture".

Both Mr Putin and Mr Macron instructed their foreign and defence ministers to maintain close contact to “de-escalate the situation”, the Kremlin said.

Russian officials — both in Moscow and speaking at the United Nations — alleged quickly after Saturday's suspected attack that the images of the victims in Douma were fake.

A suspected poison gas attack in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, which killed more than 40 people, has drawn international outrage.

The US, France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike in Syria.

France is reported to be one of the strongest backers of a possible strike, which Russia is strongly opposed to.

Speaking on French national television on Thursday, Mr Macron said France had proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and had crossed a line that could prompt French air strikes.

On Friday, Russia’s foreign minister said the suspected chemical attack in Douma was fabricated with the help of an unspecified foreign intelligence agency.

Speaking to reporters, Sergei Lavrov said Russian experts had inspected the site of the alleged attack and found no trace of chemical weapons.

Mr Lavrov said Moscow has “irrefutable information that it was another fabrication".

He said that “intelligence agencies of a state that is now striving to spearhead a Russo-phobic campaign were involved in that fabrication".

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