00:41 GMT16 January 2021
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    PARIS (Sputnik) - French strikes on Syria were aimed at stopping the government of President Bashar Assad from "violating human rights" and not at its allies, Russia and Iran, on Saturday.

    The video below allegedly shows French fighter jets just before they, jointly with the US and Britain, carried out a missile strike at a number of targets in Syria.

    An Élysée Palace source told Reuters that air strikes, aimed at a research center and two production sites in Syria, had been conducted by French Mirage and Rafale fighter jets alongside four frigate warships. Although the air strikes are over, the French military remains ready to act as requested, according to the source.

    Le Drian assured that French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Russia will not be cancelled, since "it is necessary to continue dialogue with Russia."

    He stressed that there won't be the second phase of strikes on Syria as their aim was reached. He added that the French armed forces actions were "legitimate, their objective was to put an end to rights violations," noting that "they were not aimed at the Assad regime’s allies or civilians."

    The minister pointed out that France launched missiles into Syria to back up its words with action and in coordination with the United States and the United Kingdom after they accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own people.

    However, the Russian General Staff have not recorded French aviation's participation in the attack, stressing that "Russian air defense systems at the Hmeymim and Tartus bases have timely found and controlled all the missile launches from naval and air vehicles of the US and Britain." 

    Joint US, UK and French missile strikes were conducted early on Saturday at a number of targets in Syria. According to the country's General Staff, three people were killed as a result of the Western attack.

    READ MORE: Israel: US', Allies' Missile Strikes Have 'Enforced Red Line' in Syria

    French President Emmanuel Macron ordered his country's military to intervene in Syria together with the US and UK in order to target "regime chemical weapons capacity," despite his earlier claims that France wants to avoid an "escalation, or anything else that would harm regional stability." Days before the military action in Syria, the president stated that France had proof that chemical weapons were used "by the regime of Bashar al-Assad," though the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons experts have not yet started their probe on the scene. 

    Unverified reports about an alleged chemical incident appeared in the social media, citing sources among militants, on April 7. Washington and some of its allies rushed to claim that the Syrian government was behind the suspected incident, however, Damascus vehemently denied the accusations, noting that all the country's chemical stockpiles had been destroyed under OPCW control. Russian military experts, as well as the Red Crescent, found no traces of the use of chemical weapons.


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