West to react to possible chemical attack from Assad's regime
Western powers are preparing a tough response in case Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime deploys chemical or biological weapons in its civil war, France’s foreign minister said.
Syria’s leadership has said the country, which is believed to have nerve agents as well as mustard gas and Scud missiles capable of delivering them, could use chemical or biological weapons if it were attacked from outside.
President Barack Obama has called it a “red line” for the US if Al Assad’s regime were to use such lethal weapons and France has been ratcheting up its language on the issue.
If Syria uses such weapons, “our response... would be massive and blistering,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said yesterday.
He said Western countries are monitoring the movement of the weapons in Syria to be ready to “step in” immediately.
Fabius added that Russia and China are “of the same position” but did not elaborate. Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Beijing has been consistent in its stance that it should be settled through negotiations and not by outside forces.
Moscow is Syria’s chief ally and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in a recent interview that Russia has the Syrian government’s assurances that chemical weapons will not be used.
Gatilov said Russia will “work toward the goal of preventing such things from happening”.