The Latest: Macron defends foreign policy, economic agenda

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The Latest on Macron's televised appeareance (all times local):

10 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the joint military strikes by the U.S., France and Britain against Syrian targets were led in retaliation after the Allies got evidence the government of Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.

Macron said the strikes were "retaliation, not an act of war" in a live interview Sunday on French TV channel BMF and online investigative site Mediapart.

The president says the allies had "full international legitimacy to intervene" in Syria because the strikes were about enforcing international humanitarian law.

The French leader said the allies were forced to act without an explicit mandate from the U.N. because of the "constant stalemate of the Russians" in the Security Council.

Macron says the allies "arrived at a time when these strikes had become indispensable."


7:50 p.m.

Almost one year into his term, French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the airstrikes in Syria and defend an economic reform agenda that has prompted widespread worker strikes.

Macron was scheduled to make a television appearance on Sunday night. It will be his first since the U.S., France and the U.K. launched the airstrikes early Saturday.

The 40-year-old leader is expected to explain his decision to join the operation, the biggest test yet of his foreign policy.

In the domestic field, he is likely to highlight France's improved economic environment, despite simmering anger over his labor law changes.

Retirees, hospital workers, students and others have taken to the streets to protest his government's planned reforms.

Train workers have launched on-and-off strikes over a railway labor reform plan, disrupting traffic nationwide.