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Kerry: US strike on Syria would not have changed the course of the civil war

A US military strike against Syria would not have changed the course of the civil war, US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry defended President Barack Obama's foreign policy which is being severely criticised by lawmakers over its approach to dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Iran's nuclear programme, the Ukrainian crisis and the Syrian conflict.

The US planned a military strike against the Syrian regime last year, which Kerry supported at the time, however Obama abandoned the move hours before its launch when Washington and Russia, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's main ally, reached an agreement to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

Kerry told lawmakers that the strike "would not have a devastating impact by which he [Al-Assad] had to recalculate, because it wasn't going to last that long. It took 30,000 sorties and 30 days in Bosnia to have an impact. Here we were going to have one or two days to degrade and send a message."

Kerry pointed out that, under the international agreement, 54 per cent of Syria's chemical arsenal had been removed.

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