As Western powers prepare their military, European leaders are justifying their potential actions in Syria. Both the UK and France have made clear they believe President Bashar al-Assad to be behind the deadly poison gas attacks in Damascus. The ‘red line’ often cited by US President Barack Obama has been crossed, a sentiment reiterated across the pond.
“The chemical massacre in Damascus will not go unanswered. France is ready to punish those who took the decision to gas the innocent. We are also determined to boost our military aid to the Syrian opposition under the terms of our European commitments,” said Hollande.
Cutting short their summer breaks, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Minister William Hague held talks on the next steps but were keen to avoid talk of war.
“I understand people’s concerns about getting involved in wars in the Middle East, getting sucked into the situation in Syria. This is not about wars in the Middle East. This is not even about the Syrian conflict. It’s about the use of chemical weapons and making sure as a world, (that) we deter their use and we deter the appalling scenes that we’ve all seen on our television screens,” explained Cameron.
The prime minister called parliament back from summer recess early to take a vote on Syria this Thursday. Now the US, UK and France face the difficult task of creating a wider coalition of support for any military intervention. Cameron reiterated any response must be ‘legal’.