France will increase its military support to Syrian opposition: Hollande

AP and Reuters, Tuesday 27 Aug 2013

French president says France is prepared to take action against perpetrators of chemical attack

French President  Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande (Photo: AP)

French President Francois Hollande decided to increase France's military aid to the Syrian opposition.

While Speaking Tuesday at a conference with France's ambassadors, Hollande said France is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria, reported AP.

The President also expressed France's willingness to "punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents" in Syria last week."

His statement comes after a period of heightened violence in Syria after an alleged chemical attack killed over 1,300 civilians.

The Syrian regime continues to deny any use of chemicals.

Earlier, a French diplomatic source said that France "will not shirk its responsibilities" in response to a suspected chemical attack in Damascus by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The source said that, in France's view, there was no doubt Syrian forces were behind last week's attack.

"The use of chemical weapons, which has been going on for several months now and has now been used for the first time massively, is unacceptable," the source said.

"France will not shirk its responsibilities," the source added.

US and European officials say that a short, sharp attack, perhaps entirely with cruise missiles, could be the preferred response by a Western-led coalition to last week's attack, believed to have killed hundreds of civilians.

Hollande is one of Assad's firmest critics. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said last week that the international community would need to respond with force if allegations that Assad's forces were behind the chemical attack proved true.

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