French President Francois Hollande on Friday called for intensified strikes against the Islamic State (IS) and punitive act on Syrian government, but stressed the necessity of diplomatic initiative to reach lasting peace in Syria.

French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande
Hollande convened an emergency defense meeting at the Elysee Palace to discuss next steps in Syria after U.S. strikes on Syrian military positions which Washington said were used to launch a toxic gas attack on Tuesday.

“These developments confirmed the need to advance simultaneously in the fight against Daesh by intensifying the coalition’s action and in the political negotiation in Syria to reach a transition agreed by,” he said.

“These two aspects are inseparable in order to achieve a real and lasting victory against terrorism,” he added.

The French president said “only a comprehensive strategy,” forged by the United States, Europe and regional partners “will bring peace, security and stability to Syria.”

Hollande also urged an action in the framework of the United Nations in addition to rapid and improved operation to verify Syria possession of chemical weapons.

Hollande on Tuesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being responsible for an alleged gas attack in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province.

However, the Syrian Foreign Ministry has rejected the accusation, saying the Syrian army doesn’t have any kind of chemical weapons.

Activists accused the Syrian army of firing toxic gas on the town, killing some 70 people, while the Syrian army said the strike targeted an arm depot containing toxic gas, blaming the rebels for storing such materials.

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry also said the deadly gas contamination in Idlib was caused by the explosion of chemical weapons produced by the rebels. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh