France’s Macron Says He Persuaded Trump to Keep Troops in Syria

15 April 2018

Saturday’s strikes on Syria were the first major military operation since Macron’s election in May last year.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he had convinced U.S. President Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria for the long term and limit joint strikes to chemical weapons facilities, one day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching unprecedented strikes against regime targets

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay,” Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news. “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

The United States, Britain and France said they only hit Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and the strikes were not aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in the civil war.

Limiting the strikes to these specific targets was not necessarily Trump’s initial plan, Macron said.

We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons (sites), after things got a little carried away over tweets,” he said.