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Emmanuel Macron has angrily confronted critics of last week's Syria air strikes, claiming France, the UK and the US "saved the honour of the international community".
During a three-hour debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the French President was challenged by MEPs opposed to the bombing raids on chemical weapons plants.
Responding passionately, he insisted France, the UK and the US had not declared war on Bashar al Assad, but said Syria could not be rebuilt after its civil war "if we turn our backs".
When he entered the Parliament's chamber at the start of the debate, Sinn Fein MEPs led a protest against the airstrikes, shouting and displaying placards declaring "Stop the war in Syria", "Stand up for international law" and "Hands off Syria".
After the President's opening speech, outlining ambitious proposals to make the EU more democratic, senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt strongly backed the military action, claiming a country that used chemical weapons was a "genocidal and illegitimate regime".
But after a number of MEPs, including Sinn Fein's Martina McGuinness, attacked the raids, the President hit back, saying: "This intervention by France, the UK and US has nothing to do with Iraq, nothing to do with Libya.
Source: National News Agency