French president Emmanuel Macron has clarified comments that he “convinced” his US counterpart Donald Trump to maintain a US military presence in Syria – a remark which prompted a rebuttal from the White House.
Mr Macron maintained that he “never said” either the United States or France would stay engaged long-term in Syria in a military sense – hours after saying in a live Sunday interview that he had managed to change Mr Trump’s mind on withdrawing troops.
Mr Macron said both French and US positions were in line, and the main aim in Syria was the “war against ISIS (Islamic State)”.
However, Mr Macron said that by joining forces with France and the UK for last Saturday’s air strikes, the US “fully realised that our responsibility went above and beyond the war against IS, and that it was a humanitarian responsibility as well on the ground.”
Later it was revealed that France has decided to strip Syrian President Bashar Assad of his Legion of Honour.
The French presidential office said that a disciplinary procedure has been initiated to deny Assad one of France’s highest honours.
Assad was awarded the highest rank of the Legion of Honour by former French president Jacques Chirac during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in 2001.