Last updated: 22 August, 2013

France calls for force if chemical arms confirmed in Syria

French President Francois Hollande on Thursday denounced the “likely” use of chemical weapons in Syria in telephone talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In a statement, Hollande’s office said that in a telephone conversation with Ban, the president had noted “the shock caused in France by the massacres carried out in Syria on the night of August 20-21 and the likely use of chemical weapons.”

Hollande also hailed Ban’s commitment “to proceed with a rapid and impartial investigation” into the claims of a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus.

Syria is under intense pressure to allow UN inspectors to visit the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack, which the opposition says left hundreds of people dead.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said earlier that there should be a reaction “with force” if a massacre involving chemical weapons is confirmed, though he ruled out the use of ground troops.