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    The Damascus sky lights up missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital early Saturday, April 14, 2018

    French Minister: 'Ridiculous' to Compare 2003 Iraq War to Recent Attack on Syria

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, who previously served as secretary of state for European affairs, said on Monday that he saw no parallels between the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was opposed by Paris at the time, and the strikes carried out on Syria by France and its allies this weekend.

    "This is a ridiculous comparison. This situation has nothing to do with the current situation. There was no aggression from Iraq back then…. There was no Iraqi aggression, no Iraqi threat: why would you attack a state that does not threaten you?" Le Maire said on the Europe 1 broadcaster.

    This argument was shared with Jacques Chirac, who served as France's president in 1995-2007, and Dominique de Villepin, who served as foreign minister in 2002-2004 and then prime minister in 2005-2007, Le Maire said.

    "Therefore, we with Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin fought against the war. The situation is completely different now: there is aggression, aggression involving the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, it is aggression against one of the fundamental rights — international law, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons," Le Maire, who served as an adviser in the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the time of the Iraq invasion, added.

    On Saturday morning, the United States, the United Kingdom and France launched missile strikes on a number of targets in Syria in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus' suburb of Douma.

    The attack came the same day that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission was set to start the probe into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, which the West had immediately blamed on Damascus.

    READ MORE: Russia Sends Warship Allegedly Carrying Military Hardware to Syria — Reports

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, over 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles were launched, most of which were shot down by Syrian air defense systems.

    The international community has voiced concerns about the use of chemical weapons inside of Syria since the alleged use of sarin gas in Damascus in 2013. Following the incident, Syria joined the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and agreed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal. On January 4, 2016, the OPCW issued a statement confirming that the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons had been completed.

    Related:

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    Germany Was Not Invited to Take Part in Conducting Strikes on Syria – Berlin
    NATO Chief: US, Allies' Strikes on Syria Were 'Signal' for Syria, Russia, Iran
    Tags:
    chemical weapons, Iraqi war, France, Syria
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