French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande (Reuters)

French president Francois Hollande will press ahead with plans to hit Bashar al-Assad's government in response to the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta - despite the vote against British military action in the House of Commons.

Hollande told the daily Le Monde that a military strike could happen as early as Wednesday.

"The chemical massacre in Damascus cannot and must not remain unpunished," he said. "France wants firm and proportionate action against the Damasacus regime."

Asked about the type of intervention he was referring to, Hollande said that all options were on the table. He did not support an international action to free Syria from Assad's regime but he maintained that "a halt must be brought to a regime that commits the irreparable on his population".

Hollande said that if the UN Security Council were unable to act, a coalition would be formed. "It should be as broad as possible," he said. "It will rely on the Arab League and have the support of the European countries."

David Cameron has ruled out UK involvement in any military action against Syria after he lost a House of Commons vote on the broad principle of intervention by 272 votes to 285.

Advisers to US president Barack Obama suggested he would push for military strikes against Syria without international help.


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