Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/22 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/22 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/22 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/22 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 04/22 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/20 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 04/22 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/20 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 04/22 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 04/22 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 04/20 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 04/22 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 04/22 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 04/22 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

Syria air strikes divide French politicians

media A French defence minstry photo shows a cruise missile being fired from a French military vessel towards Syria AFP/ECPAD

Right-wing and hard-left French politicians have condemned France's participation in Friday night's US-led air strikes on Syria, while the Socialist Party joined President Emmanuel Macron's supporters in welcoming them. French forces fired 12 of the roughly 100 missiles fired, according to the defence ministry.

"Adding war to war has never furthered the cause of peace," Bruno Retailleau, the leader of the mainstream right Republicans in the Senate, said in a tweet on Saturday. "This one-off show of force risk encouraging terrorism. It gives comfort to the idea that the West is hostile to the Arab world."

Like other critics, Retailleau criticised Macron for hitching France's foreign policy to that of US President Donald Trump.

"It's a mistake and the lessons of the past and our failures in the Middle East seem to have already been forgotten."

The air strikes "take us down a road with unpredictable consequences that are potentially tragic", National Front leader Marine Le Pen tweeted. "France has again missed the opportunity to appear on the world stage as an independent power in favour of parity in the world."

French diplomatic independence

The attacks are "an irresponsible escalation" for the sake of American revenge, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the hard-left France Unbowed, declared.

He, too, was worried about a supposed blow to France's position as a diplomatic player.

"We are not at all in an independent situation which wold allow us to have a possible role of mediation," he told French television.

Mélenchon also cast doubt on the alleged proof that President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons, the justification for the attacks.

"The proof of who used these weapons is not given anywhere," he claimed. "How can we understand that, at the very moment when there is an investigation, they bomb even before the results of the inquiry in question?"

Socialists back Macron

The government defended French participation in the attacks and Macron's supporters praised them.

And they were not alone.

"A just response by France and her allies to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons. Let us salute the commitment and professionalism of our armed forces," tweeted Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region, who quit the Republicans earlier this year.

"The Damascus regime's repeated chemical attacks on its people made a reaction necessary," Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said on Facebook, adding a call for new discussions at the UN. "There is no long solution unless the conditions for a negociated transition are laid out."

France "has measured up to the singular and historic role that is her own" in acting "alongside of the American and British democrats", Jean-Christophe Lagarde of the liberal UDI, which supports the government declared in a statement.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has "crossed a red line" in using chemical weapons, Christophe Castaner of Macron's Republic on the Move said in a tweet. "France could not remain blind and mute when faced with this barbarity. Last night's strikes in Syria are necessary and salutary for the Syrian people."

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.