- 8 updates
MPs in France debated a possible military strike in Syria today in both houses of their parliament, but did not vote on any action.
Polls indicate French voters overwhelmingly want their politicians to have a say, and the possibility of an intervention appears to be fairly unpopular, despite President Hollande advocating for such action. Europe Editor James Mates reports from Paris.
A new poll conducted by ComRes for CNN across France, Germany and the UK has revealed a lack of enthusiasm for military intervention in Syria.
Overall, French respondents were more likely to back a strike, but the poll revealed some conflicting views:
- 32% of French, 20% of German and 16% of UK respondents backed military action
- 52% of Germans, 36% of French and 23% of UK respondents think intervention would help regime change
- 39% of UK, 50% of German and 47% of French respondents said military action would prevent future chemical weapons use
- 30% of UK respondents favoured doing nothing, as did 27% of French people and 22% of Germans.
Politicians in France have started to debate whether the country should take military action against Syria.
Opening the debate, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said taking no action over Syria's chemical weapons would send the wrong message over Iran's nuclear programme.
The debate will take place in both houses: the national senate and in the upper house known as the Congress National, but politicians are not expected to vote on the matter.
A CSA poll has found that 74 per cent of French people want parliament to vote on possible military action in Syria, Le Monde reports.
A separate poll released last week reportedly shows that nearly two-thirds of French citizens (64 percent) were opposed to French participation in an intervention in Syria.
France has been a vocal advocate of military action in Syria following an alleged chemical attack on opposition-held areas of the capital Damascus.
- 30 August: Hollande announces France could take action in Syria without UK
- 2 September: France releases a summary of its intelligence concluding that Assad's regime was likely to blame for a "massive use of chemical agents"
- 2 September: Assad tells a French newspaper that France risks becoming Syria's enemy
- 3 September: Hollande says France will not act without the US
- 3 September: Assad regime releases a letter to French MPs urging them not to support a strike
- 4 September: French National Assembly debates Syria issue
French politicians have been calling for President Francois Hollande to put the possible intervention in Syria to a vote, as in the US and Britain.
French newspaper Le Monde reports that the main opposition UMP party has called for such a vote to take place, whilst MEP Arnaud Danjean told France 24:
France's President Francois Hollande is under pressure to follow the US and British examples and ask parliament to vote on possible military action in Syria, according to local press reports.
The National Assembly is due to debate the issue later today, but a vote is not scheduled.
Under French law, Mr Hollande is not obliged to seek parliamentary approval for military action until four months after its start.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his German counterpart on Tuesday, Mr Hollande reiterated his expectation that other countries would join his calls for a military response.
French president Francois Hollande said that if the US Congress votes against military action in Syria, France would not intervene alone.