France 'ready to punish' Syria over gas attack

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Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 27 at 1:35 PM

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that his country is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.

"France is ready to punish those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents" in Syria last week, Hollande said at a conference with France's ambassadors. He did not elaborate.

"I have decided to increase our military support to the National Syrian Coalition," the main Syrian opposition group in exile, he also said.

France, one of Europe's biggest military powers, has not specified what preparation it is taking for any possible international action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

But on Monday Hollande said time is running out for the Syrian regime and airstrikes are a possibility. "Everything will come into play this week," he told Le Parisien newspaper. "There are several options on the table, ranging from strengthening international sanctions to airstrikes to arming the rebels.

Hollande spoke with President Barack Obama on Sunday and told him France, like Britain, would support him in a targeted military intervention, according to the paper.

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