Macron: France to stand by Baltic countries on security

French President Emmanuel Macron

Trump spoke with other world leaders, and U.S. officials said the U.S., France and Britain were in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early this week. Meanwhile, Iran is present in Syria in a way that threatens Russia which still needs its alliance with Tehran at this stage.

A day earlier, European airspace authorities warned aircraft to be careful over the next few days when flying close to Syria because of the possibility of air or missile strikes into the country. "Stop the arms race?" Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, tweeted: 'We expect a president, we get a little priest.' Lydia Guirous, of the conservative Republicans party, said Macron 'is playing a dangerous game and does not understand the republic'. "He said in social network".

Strength is an important part of Mr Macron's bid to project French influence on the world stage - and a key element, too, of his new political friendship with his US counterpart, Donald Trump.

"In this moment of great social fragility, when the very fabric of the nation is in danger of being torn apart, I consider my responsibility not to let the confidence of Catholics in politics and politicians deteriorate", the president said.

The Syrian-American Medical Society, which operates in rebel-held areas, said more than 500 people had been treated for symptoms "indicative of exposure to a chemical agent". The contract, which was signed in Tehran, is for 20 years, and involves 20 wells, two wellhead platforms, and to connect two existing facilities by underwater pipeline. Multiple IS attacks have targeted French soil, including one last month.

Separately, Macron defended French weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, arguing it is based on criteria respecting "international humanitarian law and the risk of harm to civilian populations". Trump responded by launching Navy cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.

Also, the Navy said the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group will depart Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday for a regularly scheduled deployment to Europe.

He said any action would "target chemical weapons" stocks.

The British Cabinet is meeting to discuss the government's response.

France's President Emmanuel Macron has "proof" the Syrian government used chemical weapons on Douma last weekend and will decide in due course about air strikes, he says.

At the time, there was limited public protest at the rule changes and the government continued with its ambitious reform agenda, a central element of Macron's plans to modernize the French economy.

Macron said Thursday that France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

While it was unclear how the US would make Syria and its allies "pay a price" for civilian deaths, Trump's statement indicated that he held Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the attack for his association with Syria.

Macron is under mounting pressure to address voter fears that its influence may spread via mosques and prisons that reportedly offer fertile ground for radical proselytisers.

The claims by the United States that its planned attack on Syria is a response to a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on April 7 are without any independent substantiation.

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