UN, France demand investigation into Syria 'gas attack'

France has become the first country to say it is willing to use force inside Syria -if it can be proved Bashar al-Assad's government was behind an alleged chemical attack.That is after an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council into the attack merely backed calls for an inquiry.Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington.For more on this story, click here: http://aje.me/13V72FX

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Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on September 2, 2013 at 7:33pm

France pins chemical attack on Syrian regime

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out a "massive and coordinated" chemical attack on August 21, according to a declassified French intelligence report.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/09/201392151846384759...

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 30, 2013 at 5:57am

What is worse, chemical weapons or flame throwers ? The former was banned by international convention after the first world war while the later remains legal. I say both are equally bad. The British commons vote may have saved the West from intervention in Syria. France is less likely to go to war in Syria without the support of Britain and the United States. I say let Muslims kill each other with chemical weapons and any conventional weapon they choose. It's not necessarily the West's business and we just can't keep intervening in every war that starts in the Islamic world. We can't afford it any more.

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 29, 2013 at 11:02pm

UK parliament votes against military intervention in Syria

The British parliament has voted against possible strikes on Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron had wanted backing for military action to deter any further chemical attacks on civilians. Instead, his gamble on recalling politicians for an emergency session resulted in a stunning defeat. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood reports from London. For more on this story, click here: http://aje.me/193CNjL

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 27, 2013 at 1:09am

Syrian chemical crisis prompts call for action, Russia warns against

Russia warned the US and its allies to exercise restraint as the call for a military response in Syria grew around Europe’s capitals.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the alleged nerve gas attack was a ploy to derail any potential peace talks.

“Remember the reports of the chemical attacks came as America and Russia were working on the Geneva peace talks. There is no doubt the hysteria surrounding this has worked against the meeting,” he said in Moscow.

Lavrov said any military intervention in Syria without a mandate from the United Nations would be a grave violation of international law.

He appealed to the United States and other Western powers to avoid “past mistakes” by intervening in Syria and said that it was an illusion to think that destroying Syrian military infrastructure would end the civil war there.

Germany has joined the growing coalition of nations to back an international response against Syria, if accusations of a government gas attack prove correct.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, speaking in Berlin, weighed in saying: “The use of chemical weapons would be a crime against humanity. If it proves to be true then the international community needs to act and Germany will be amongst those calling for consequences. We are in close contact with the United Nations and our allies.”

As many a 37 states are now in favour of action against President Basher-al Assad.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has cut short his holiday and returned to London to discuss the Syrian chemical crisis.

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 26, 2013 at 6:07pm

Brewing Storm: 'Western military intervention will worsen Syria'

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 24, 2013 at 11:34am

Possible U.S involvement in Syria

US President Barack Obama has met national security advisers to discuss the response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria

A White House official said on Saturday that Obama had asked for evidence to be gathered on the attack in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday, which opposition groups say killed as many as 1,300 people.

"Once we ascertain the facts, the president will make an informed decision about how to respond," the official said. 

The US president has repeatedly warned that the use Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would cross a "red line" if his forces used chemical weapons, and compel the US to action.

If confirmed, the attack would be the deadliest use of chemical agents since Saddam Hussein gassed Iranian troops, and Kurdish rebel areas in northern Iraq in the 1980s.

The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons, and blames rebels for the attack.

On Friday, the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel suggested that the US was moving forces into place ahead of possible military action against Syria.

However, Obama has expressed caution about the kind of intervention that could draw the US into another prolonged conflict in the Middle East.

Naval presence

US commanders have nevertheless prepared a number of options for Obama if he chose to proceed with military strikes against Damascus, Hagel said.

Reuters news agency reported that the commander of the US Sixth Fleet had decided to keep the USS Mahan, a warship armed with cruise missiles, in the region despite the ship having completed its deployement.

The USS Ramage, a guided-missile destroyer that was orginally intended to replace USS Mahan, has also arrived in the region.

 

Travelling in Malaysia, Hagel discussed in his statement, the decision to keep the Mahan in the Mediterranean.

"The Defence Department has responsibility to provide the president with options for all contingencies," he said. "And that requires positioning our forces... to be able to carry out different options - whatever options the president might choose."

Asked whether it was fair to report that the US had moved assets, Hagel said: "I don't think I said that. I said that we are always having to prepare - as we give the president options - prepare our assets and where they are and the capability of those assets to carry out the contingencies we give the president."

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 24, 2013 at 6:15am

Film evidence of gas attack

Footage shot by an independent journalist for Britain's ITV News appears to show victims of an alleged chemical attack that activists said killed hundreds of people.

A small crater and exploded metal was only feet away from where dead bodies were lying.

An unnamed survivor of the attack, shown in the video, said he had gone to investigate a small explosion that he heard, but smelt a strange odour.

"The next morning we discovered all families dead in their homes. [I] just opened the door [to] see the whole family killed in place with foam in their mouths and eyes together with blood in their ears," he said.

Another witness said that the explosions from the 12 missiles that fell on the area were not loud, so residents thought the attack was further away.

Opposition activists have said that a number of people who gave medical help to victims died due to exposure to chemicals. 

Chemical weapons experts have said that this could point to the possible use of a nerve agent.

"By looking at the videos you can tell that some of the victims are suffering from asphyxiation, they don't have any external wounds, so it's consistent with the use of a chemical agent," said Dina Esfandiary of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

She added that it was difficult to say what actually happened without samples.

The UN said in a a statement on Friday that Angela Kane, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, was due to arrive in Damascus on Saturday to push for access to the site of the attack for UN inspectors, who are already in Syria to investigate previous chemical attack claims.

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on August 23, 2013 at 6:33am

Russia backs U.N probe into Syria

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