US President Barack Obama has warned Syria that any use of chemical weapons in the country’s bloody conflict could provoke a US military response.
He also said that if the Syrian regime failed to safeguard its weapons of mass destruction there would be “enormous consequences”.
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation,” said President Obama.
Syria last month acknowledged for the first time that it had chemical and biological weapons and threatened to use them if foreign countries intervene.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile continued to warn against trying to impose democracy on Syria through foreign fire power.
“We still believe that if all those who took part in the Geneva meeting in June demanded all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict agree to stop the violence, we would be able to start negotiations on how a temporary government could be established in the country. Then we would have an opportunity for a solution which could save many human lives,” he said.
But there seems little movement on the diplomatic front. On a trip to Paris, the new Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who has taken over from Kofi Annan, has refused to commit to demands that Syria’s president should quit.