International Leaders React to Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria
On Wednesday 21th August video footage emerged online which appears to Syrian civilians, including women and children, suffering from the effects of a chemical weapons attack. Rebel groups claim that government forces had shelled the area using warhead filled with ‘toxic gas’, killing around 1,300 people. The Syrian government has denied launching a chemical weapons attack, and condemned the international media organisations who broke the story.
A meeting of the United Nations security council has been called to discuss the alleged attack, but many world leaders have already made their positions clear.
France Threatens ‘Force’ Against Syrian Government
The French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has implied that his government would support a military response if the allegations of chemical weapons use were proven. “If it is proven, France’s position is that there must be a reaction, a reaction that could take the form of a reaction with force,” he said. He ruled out a ’boots on the ground’ invasion of Syria, however. “There are possibilities for responding,” was all that he would say.
William Hague Condemns ‘Murderous and Barbaric’ Regime
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who yesterday described the said that the attack would be a “shocking escalation in the use of chemical weapons” in Syria if confirmed, has today urged the Syrian government’s supporters to recognise the “murderous and barbaric nature” of Assad’s regime. “Those who order the use of chemical weapons, and those who use them, should be in no doubt that we will work in every way we can to hold them to account,” he added.
Hesitant US Calls for United Nations Investigation
A White House statement has called for UN inspectors to investigate the allegation. Having previously said that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a ‘red line’ which would trigger military intervention if crossed, but having since run into considerable political opposition to plans to arm Syrian rebels, Obama seems hesitant to react.
Russia Blames Rebels
Russia has suggested that the attack could have been a ‘premeditated provocation’ by rebel fighters, whilst Iran has also said that if a chemical weapons were used then it would have been the rebels who used them. China sided with Russia in blocking a strongly worded statement from the UN security council. Take a look at this article for more information on claims that the incident may have been a false flag attack carried out by rebels.
Related Video: ‘Lunacy and Madness’ for Syria to Use Chemical Weapons
Turkey Urges Action
The Turkish government today urged the international government to act against the Syrian government following this “crime against humanity”. The country’s deputy prime minister also said that only the government possessing the kind of chemical weapons which appear to have been used in the attack.