• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French Navy 'sends warship towards Syria'

AFP/The Local · 29 Aug 2013, 09:12

Published: 29 Aug 2013 09:12 GMT+02:00

The frigate Chevalier Paul left the port of Toulon in the south of France bound for Syria on Thursday, according to the French online news site Le Point.

The decision to dispatch the anti-aircraft vessel, comes just a day after it was announced that the French Parliament would hold an emergency session on Syria in response to the deadly chemical weapons attack, the West believes was carried out by Bashar al-Assad.

It is the latest move that suggests France is gearing up to intervene militarily in the war-torn country.

The anti-aircraft warship, believed to be the most modern in the French Navy fleet, could be used to protect allied bombers in the case the US, UK and France – the three countries pushing for military intervention – decide to launch air strikes against Assad.

Plans difficult to develop

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said on Thursday that Western plans for retaliatory action against Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack are "difficult to develop".

"The international community must find a riposte that is adapted to the situation,"  said on France 2 television.

She said it was "necessary to obtain the adhesion of several allies and partners at the heart of the UN Security Council, which we are trying to do" but added that "states like Russia and China pose a certain number of problems."

The aim of military action "will not simply be to punish the Syrian regime and prevent it from carrying out a new attack of this type ... but also to seek a way out of this crisis."

"It's extremely important for the international community if it intervenes to do so in a manner that the country can recover."

Opposition leader to meet Hollande

Speaking to the French press on Thursday the leader of Syria’s main opposition group Ahmad al Jarba, urged the West to take action to rid Syria of Assad.

Jarba told the daily Le Parisien he will tell French President FrancoisHollande in talks on Thursday morning: "Chemical Bashar has massacred our peopleon August 21. He must not escape the punishment he deserves."

The UN-Arab League special envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said Wednesday it was clear a chemical substance had been used in the August 21 attack in a Damascus suburb, killing hundreds of people.

"May he be attacked and may his regime disappear," said Jarba, branding Assad "an infection, a microbe for the region".

"This man and his family must be brought to justice in The Hague by the International Criminal Court."

Story continues below…

The Syrian opposition expects Western countries to carry out "a punishing strike against the regime", followed by "political and military support for the Free Syrian Army", he added.

Assad has the support of Russia, Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Iran, he said, but added: "We are lacking everything. Our allies haven't given us anything we asked for."

Jarba also warned of Al-Qaeda's influence in the region.

"These extremists are manipulated by the regime to scare the world."

"A courageous decision must be taken. We need our friends. Words are not enough," he added.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French priest murderer: He was a 'gentle' child
Photo: AFP

French police have formally identified the second attacker who killed a priest in northern France on Tuesday. And his mother has said he was her "gentle child".

Johnson hails France in Paris (while speaking French)
French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault (R) shakes hands with Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson (L). Photo: AFP

VIDEO: A British Foreign Minister who speaks French. Fancy that.

Should you really go to the Bayonne Festival?
A bullfighter and a crowd at this year's festival. Photo: AFP

Should people boycott the Bayonne festival in France because it features bullfighting? Many think so.

Le Thought du Jour
Sorry Donald Trump, but 'France IS still France'
Photo: AFP

Donald Trump reckons 'France is no longer France', because his friend said so. We don't agree.

France to create new National Guard 'to protect its citizens'
Photo: AFP

France will soon have its own National Guard the president announced on Thursday as he aims to boost security to protect the French population facing repeated terror attacks.

French teens storm police barracks in hunt for Pokemon
Photo: AFP

The arrival of Pokemon Go in France has landed people in all sorts of trouble.

Corsican militants warn 'Islamist radicals' over attacks
Photo: AFP

Militants warn violent extremists that any attack would be met by a "determined response".

Shareholders revolt sees French exec's pay slashed
Photo: AFP

Renault cuts its CEO's salary after a revolt from shareholders.

Priest killing: 'France was warned about attack threat'
French political leaders attend a memorial mass for the slain priest. Photo: AFP

French authorities had reportedly been warned that the second terrorist behind Tuesday's cold-blooded murder of a priest was ready to act.

Fêtes de Bayonne
France's wildest festival gets underway amid tight security
Festival goers in Bayonne - a sea of red and white. Photo: AFP

Over the coming days around a million revellers are expected at what is arguably the wildest, most raucous and most colourful event in France.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,761
jobs available