Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:56PM GMT
The French right has warned President Francois Hollande against a military intervention in Syria amid escalation of war rhetoric against the Arab country.
On Saturday, former Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Jean-Francois Copé, the president of the main right-wing party — the UMP — warned of the dangers of a potential military strike over allegations that Damascus was behind a recent chemical weapons attack in Syria.
Copé said that political leaders should wait for the conclusions of the United Nations team of chemical weapons inspectors, noting, “The Iraq syndrome is present in all our minds.”
On March 19, 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq under the pretext of wiping out the stocks of Weapons of Mass Destruction belonging to the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime. However, no such weapons were ever discovered in the country.
Meanwhile, Fillon said Paris should act “responsibly” and not follow anyone into a military action, adding, “The region is a powder-keg.”
In a Friday interview with the French daily Le Monde, Hollande stressed that Paris “wants firm and proportionate action” against the Syrian government.
The French parliament is due to hold an emergency session to discuss the situation in Syria on Wednesday.
On Saturday, US President Barack Obama said he has decided that Washington should launch military strikes against Syria after the American intelligence community claimed Damascus used chemical weapons against foreign-backed militants.
However, the president said he would seek authorization for an attack from Congress when federal lawmakers return from recess on September 9.
The call for military action against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching the attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.
The Syrian government categorically rejected the claim, saying that the US claim is “full of lies” and that the foreign-backed militants carried out the attack.