France has not declared war on Syria regime, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with TF1 news anchorman Jean Pierre Pernaut after interview in classroom at a primary school in Berdhuis west of Paris

Some mocked Mr Macron's choice of venue Credit YOAN VALAT AFP

"We convinced him it was necessary to stay", Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news.

Despite a spat over Syria and risk of escalation in the region, Macron maintained a scheduled visit to Russian Federation late May to participate the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to the French top diplomat.

Last week, Trump warned Russia of the impending air strikes on Twitter, saying: "Get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart".

Two weeks ago, Trump has expressed a strong desire to pull American troops out of Syria, but the president appears to be reconsidering in the wake of a coalition strike on the Syrian regime's chemical warfare infrastructure in the aftermath of a deadly chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

"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. "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term".

Europe's two biggest military powers took a gamble in lining up behind U.S. President Donald Trump to bombard Syria.

American objectives in Syria have not altered, the White House said Sunday, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants USA troops home "as quickly as possible".

Expected to focus on domestic politics, the interview was overshadowed by the launch a day earlier of Macron's his first major military intervention as president.

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He said failing to enforce red lines had led Russian authorities to think "these people from the worldwide community - they are nice, they are weak".

At a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), UK representative Peter Wilson said: "Russia has argued that the attack on Douma was somehow staged, or faked".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in London that the West had tried "every possible" diplomatic means to stop Assad from using chemical weapons.

He said France now wanted to involve Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

Macron had warmer words for Turkey.

Pointing to the overnight strike, another advisor to Macron said: "This is proof today that the political line he drew at the start of his mandate was meant to be respected".

"All of our missiles reached their target", he said.

As for his allies, Macron suggested France played a pivotal role in changing Trump's mind on the need to stay involved in the conflict.

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