NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the alliance is ready to confront the security challenges in Syria but noted that a decision has not been reached yet regarding a potential military strike on the country.
Speaking at a press conference he insisted that there is evidence that the Syrian regime was behind the chemical weapons attack. “Such unspeakable actions which claimed the lives of hundreds of men, women and children cannot be ignored.”
The Assad regime in Damascus, meanwhile, called on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to prevent “any aggression on Syria” after US President Barack Obama said that his country has decided to launch a military strike in response to the “chemical weapons assault” two weeks ago. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that Assad’s envoy to the UN, Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, sent a letter to Ban calling on him to “shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward towards reaching a political solution to the crisis”.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his government is not convinced by the evidence shown by the US and its allies purporting to prove the regime’s use of chemical weapons. Another Assad ally, China, said that Beijing is “gravely concerned” about the prospects of “unilateral military actions” against Syria.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that all sides should wait until the UN weapons inspectors produce the results of their investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack. He said that his country backs the UN in “carrying out an independent, impartial, objective and professional investigation”.
While the French government set out its own case for military action against Damascus, its erstwhile partner in the attack, Britain, ruled out another parliamentary vote on the issue. The Arab League, meeting in Cairo, said that it holds the Syrian regime fully responsible for the attack which took place on August 21.