French forces are ready to strike Syria once again if chemical weapons are used during the upcoming battle of Idlib, France’s Chief of the Defence Staff Francois Lecointre stated on September 6.
“We are ready to strike if chemical weapons were used again,” the top military official told media. “They can be carried out at national level but it’s in our interest to do it with as many partners as possible.”
On September 5, US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that the Pentagon has no intelligence suggesting that the militants in Idlib are capable of staging a chemical attack.
“We have zero intelligence that shows the opposition has any chemical capability. We — we have not seen it used in Syria. There were some attempts, of course, by ISIS to use it in Iraq. Those attempts were very sophomoric; basically, generally failures. You know, a — a grenade with some kind of mustard agent in it or something, but nothing on the lines of what the White Helmets and the United Nations have seen exposed by the — the Assad regime’s violation of the chemical — the prohibition on chemical weapons.
So when we start hearing stories about this, and we have fairly good penetration of many of the opposition groups, and certainly, we have a history now of how many years of a tragic war that did not have to happen, but for Assad, did not have to happen; but for Russia’s regrettable vetoes in the United Nations, did not have to happen but for the Iranian’s support of Assad’s murders. We have seen the repeated use in this fight by the Assad regime.
So we have made very clear that by putting out innuendo, that somehow any chemical weapon use coming up in the future could be ascribed to the opposition, well, we want to see the data. And right now, we have data — not just American data, not just U.S. data, but international data — that the Assad regime has done this before, and we are watching very closely for this. We cannot see anything that indicates the opposition has that capability. “
In other words, if any kind of chemical weapons provocation takes place in Idlib, the US-led bloc will carry out no investigation but will unilaterally accuse the Assad government of carrying out a chemical attack.