France to strip Syria's Bashar al-Assad of major award after suspected chemical attack

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on June 25, 2001 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is greeted by French President Jacques Chirac before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.PlayJack Guez/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
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France has started the process of revoking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Legion of Honor award, the Elysée Palace told ABC News today.

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The Legion of Honor, which is France’s highest distinction, was awarded to Assad by former French president Jacques Chirac in 2001.

This announcement comes a few days after France launched, alongside the United States and United Kingdom, military strikes targeting chemical weapons facilities of the Syrian regime, in response to a suspected deadly gas attack from the Syrian government.

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on June 25, 2001 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is greeted by French President Jacques Chirac before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
In this file photo taken on June 25, 2001 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is greeted by French President Jacques Chirac before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

The decision to strip a citizen from the Legion of Honor belongs to the French president, meaning that President Emmanuel Macron took the decision.

It’s not the first time since his election in May 2017 that Macron has decided to revoke the Legion of Honor award. In October 2017, the French president declared that he has started the process of stripping Harvey Weinstein of his Legion of Honor after allegations by women accusing him of sexual harassment and rape, which he has denied.

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on June 26, 2001 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen during his visit at the Arab World Institute in Paris.Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
In this file photo taken on June 26, 2001 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen during his visit at the Arab World Institute in Paris.

Former U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong lost his Legion of Honor award in 2014 after admitting that he doped during his seven Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005.

The Legion of Honor was established May 19, 1802, by Napoléon Bonaparte "to reward the most deserving citizens in all fields of activity,” according to the website of the Legion of Honor. “The honor can be revoked in the event of criminal conviction, or any action that is dishonorable or that may harm the interests of France.”

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