According to French President Emmanuel Macron, his American counterpart has decided to keep troops in Syria after the two talked about the matter. However, the White House responded to Macron’s remarks by stressing that Trump “wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible.”

Macron and Trump

Macron and Trump Photo Credit: EPA

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that he convinced US President Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria. “Ten years ago, President Trump said ‘the US needs to disengage from Syria.’ We convinced him that it was necessary to stay,” Macron said during a live TV interview with French media outlets.

Macron added that the joint attack on Syria was not carried out in accordance with the original White House plan. “We also convinced him that we should limit the attack to the chemical weapons sites after things got out of hand due to the tweets,” he explained. Before the US, Britain and France targeted eight sites in Syria on Friday night, Trump warned Moscow about America’s missiles in a tweet: “Get ready, Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart’. You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Macron defended the coordinated attack in the interview, saying that it was a justified and legal move. When he announced the military action on Friday, Trump said the airstrikes were designed to discourage further production and use of chemical weapons. “Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States,” he stated. “The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

Following Macron’s interview, the White House said that Trump is still intent on pulling the American troops out of Syria. “The President has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return.”