As the US gets ready for possible military attacks on Syria, President Assad’s main ally, Russia, is sending a spy ship to the eastern Mediterranean. It said the reconnaissance ship’s mission was to “gather current information in the area of the escalating conflict”.
Moscow believes the alleged chemical weapons attack could have been staged by Syrian rebels to provoke foreign intervention.
Russian Foreign Minister,Sergey Lavrov said Washington had not proved its case that Sarin gas was used by Assad. “We were shown some findings which contained no specifics, neither geographical coordinates, nor names, nor proof that tests had been carried out by professionals. There are too many doubts,” Lavrov stated.
The US insists the Syrian government was behind the attack which it says killed over 1,400 people. President Obama is seeking Congressional authorisation for punitive action against Syrian forces.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s leadership believes a limited strike is not enough, and wants to see Assad forced out.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said: “Unless efficient steps are taken, the Syrian regime will be encouraged to commit new massacres and humanitarian tragedies. We are urging our allies to avoid such temporary steps and tell them this will cause grave problems.”
At US-Turkish airbase Incirlik, in southern Turkey about 60 kilometres from the Syrian border, it was business as usual, with no signs of any imminent military action.