France Says Committed to 'Firm' Syria Response

France Says Committed to 'Firm' Syria Response

French President Francois Hollande said Friday he remained committed to a firm response on Syria despite Britain’s surprise rejection of armed intervention.

Hollande said all options were on the table and did not rule out military strikes within days, even prior to an emergency session of parliament on Wednesday to debate the issue.

The French leader said the British parliament’s rebuff would not influence the course of action Paris would take.

Hollande, who had vowed to “punish” President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack on August 21, said “there was a body of indicators pointing to the responsibility of the Damascus regime.”

He ruled out strikes while the UN inspectors were in Syria investigating the alleged attack. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said they were expected to leave Syria by Saturday morning.

Hollande said in the event strikes take place before parliament meets Wednesday, he would brief MPs on developments during that session.

The United States, which had warned that Assad would be crossing a “red line” if chemical weapons were used, said it was still seeking an “interventional coalition” for possible strikes on Syria while reserving the right to act alone.