NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that the option to carry out a military strike against Syria, or any similar kind of operation, must be kept open as a way of dealing with the crisis.
Rasmussen welcomed the Russian-American agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal but said that it was necessary to keep the military option on the table to maintain the diplomatic and political momentum.
At a meeting organized by Carnegie Europe, Rasmussen explained that: “I believe the military option will remain on the table regardless of the outcome of the deliberations in the UN Security Council.”
Western countries want the UN Security Council, which is currently deliberating in New York, to pass a resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons leaving the door open to the use of force if Syria does not comply. Russia is expected to oppose this provision.
Rasmussen also said he had no doubt that the Syrian government is responsible for the sarin gas attack near Damascus on 21 August, which the United States claims to have killed more than 1,400 people.
Rasmussen rejected the Syrian and Russian claims that opposition fighters were responsible for the attack explaining that, “the rockets were fired from areas controlled by the government. It is not logical that the opposition attacks its own men with chemical weapons in areas they already control. Moreover, we do not believe that the opposition has the necessary means to carry out a chemical weapons attack at this scale and size.”