US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that at least ten countries had approved their participation in the proposed American military strike on the Syrian regime.
At the same time, Kerry did not name those countries. However it seems clear that Turkey and France are among the most prominent powers standing behind US President Obama’s decision to carry out such an attack.
In the meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry ruled out the possibility that any military attack on Syria as a punishment for using chemical weapons could erupt into a larger military conflict with Russia.
“Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his country would not go to war because of Syria,” Kerry told the Senators. He also said that the Russian president was clear in his discussions that the situation in Syria would not escalate “to the level of such a conflict.”
Russia, an important weapons exporter to the Syrian regime, said that it moved the first marine flotilla, consisting of 16 warships and three helicopters, to the region since the end of the Soviet era.
Moscow also said that it would send two warships to the east of the Mediterranean in a routine shifting. US military officials downplayed this step and said that like American warships, Russian warships always shift. Kerry himself also downplayed the danger of Russian warships in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country might accept an American military strike on Syria if it was proved that the latter used chemical weapons. But he insisted that the operation would be illegal if carried out without the recognition of the UN.
The US and France have both announced their readiness to carry out a military strike on Syria without referring to the UN Security Council knowing that Moscow would likely veto any use of force against the Syrian regime.