Tensions are abound between Syria and France when the former had just returned the Legion d’honneur it had received from France. The move also came just days from French president Emmanuel Marcon’s move to withdraw honor from his Syrian counterpart.
This move was courtesy of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad who returned the award upon receiving it, saying he won’t wear an award from a “slave country of the United States.”
France, UK, US On The Offensive
The move may have been part of France joining the United Kingdom and United States in launching airstrikes to Syrian chemical weapons facilities last week, when it was found out that poison gas were apparently used by Damascus against citizens on a rebel-held enclave just outside the capital.
This was particularly highlighted by what appears to be threats of retaliation, courtesy of United States President Donald Trump, when news of the alleged use of chemical weapons started to surface.
According to CNN, three sites were the primary targets of the attacks, which were conducted by at least three Red Sea-based US Navy warships and B-1 bombers. According to the Pentagon, a Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser named USS Monterey also released Tomahawk missiles to participate in the strike.
The first target was a Damascus research center that was apparently involved in the production and development of chemical weapons.
The second target was an alleged storage facility of chemical weapons near Homs; with the final target being another storage facility that also served as a command post, though its location remains unnamed.
Gen. Joseph Dunford of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said the attacks should make Syria lose years of equipment, storage, development, and research due to this setback. Trump himself said he made the decision on the attacks because Assad’s actions were an attack “against his own people.”
The strikes were launched when most of the Middle East and Europe were in darkness, at around 9 PM European Time. Photographers on the scene were able to show the missiles tracing a path over Syria’s night skies, and witnesses who were watching Trump’s address heard the explosions as the US President made his words clear.
During the aftermath, a statement from the Syrian Armed Forces said 110 missiles made their way to Syrian targets, but their “defense systems” were able to “intercept most of it.” Some, according to them, were able to hit places such as Barzeh’s research center. Meanwhile, Russian news agency TASS said none of the missiles struck areas that were under the jurisdiction of Russian air defenses, which particularly included air bases and naval bases in Syria.
Trump added the attacks will cease only if the chemical weapons usage in Syria will end. Meanwhile Russia’s Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said the strikes were unfortunate given they hit Syria when the country had “finally” achieved its chance at peace. Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov added responsibility rests with Paris, London, and Washington, and that these actions won’t be “without consequences.”
Legion ‘dhonneur: Tracing The Origins
The award, now on its way back to France via the Romanian embassy, is known by its full name as the National Order of the Legion of Honor. It’s considered the highest possible order of merit one can receive from France for both civil and military merits.
The order, originally created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, holds its seat of power in the Palais de la Legion d’Honneur just beside the Musee d’Orsay located on the left bank of Paris’ River Seine.
Meanwhile, the move of France to join the UK and the US on the air strikes against Syria was in retaliation against the supposed poison gas attack. More than 100 missiles were apparently launched from the three nations.
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