Syria 'chemical attack': France's President Macron 'has proof'

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives inside the classroom prior to attend an one-hour interview with French news channel TF1 at a school in Berd’huis

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that he would respond to "proof" that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons, "at a time of our choosing".

Former French President Francois Hollande expressed on Thursday his support to the idea of taking military action as one of the possible responses to the alleged chemical attack on the Syrian city of Douma. "Our teams work closely together", he said.

"I suspect that the Americans and French have forced themselves into action and will still move militarily but the growing awareness of the difficulty of the situation is clearly injecting real caution into the mix", he added.

Macron said France wanted to remove the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities.

With increasing concerns about a US-Russia proxy war in Syria, Mr Macron insisted that "France will not allow an escalation or something that could damage the stability" of the region.

The Russian military said Thursday that the Syrian government is now in full control of the town, once held by rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Douma was the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.

She said she spoke on Thursday with Mr Macron.

He said if there were strikes they would not target the Syrian government's allies or anybody in particular, but would be aimed at the Syrian government's chemical facilities.

The White Helmets, an organization working inside Syria, claimed that 43 people were killed in the attack on Douma.

"The raised state flag over a building in the town of Douma has heralded the control over this location and therefore over the whole of eastern Ghouta", Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Syria, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

"If there is a chemical weapons attack - there must be a reaction from the worldwide community".

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