France - Syria

France wants action on Syria, hard left disagrees

Left Front leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon at a meeting of his Parti de Gauche this weekend
Left Front leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon at a meeting of his Parti de Gauche this weekend AFP

As UN experts start a second day of investigation into the the Syrian government's alleged useof chemical weapons, France has called for a determined reaction. But hard-left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Tuesday said that military strikes against Bashar al-Assad's regime would be a "gigantic error".

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Western countries will decide in the next few days on a response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria, France says.

The UK on Tuesday that it is drawing up contingency plans, although no response has yet been decided on.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday puty the blame squarely on the Syrian regime.

"What appears obvious now, from all the converging testimony, is that there was what I’m calling a chemical massacre," he told Europe 1 radio. "What is also clear is that this massacre came from the regime of Bashar al-Assad."

Fabius called for a "measured and proportional reaction".

"But we must react with determination and a clear head," he continued. "That is what will be decided in the coming days. All options are on the table. The only option I do not envisage is to not do anything."

But former Left Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon warned that military action could lead to war.

"It would be a gigantic error, perhaps a step towards a war that would be much bigger than all those that we have already seen in this region," Mélenchon told BFMTV and RMC radio.

US leaders are "in the habit of using any argument to justify a military intervention", he added, but "this war must not take place".

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