Emmanuel Macron had to act in Syria after making chemical weapons his red line

As French fighter jets sped towards Syria in the early hours of Saturday morning, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, sat in a windowless command-room beneath the Élysée Palace. Surrounded by senior military and diplomatic staff tracking the military operation, the 40-year-old French leader was “calm and resolved”, an Elysée source said.

Macron’s decision to order French missile strikes against Syria with the US and UK marks a new phase in his presidency. It is the first time that France’s youngest modern president, who has been in power for a year, has used his constitutional role as commander-in-chief of the army to order a military strike.

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