News / Middle East

Putin: Syria Attack Would be 'Utter Nonsense'

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to journalists in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Aug. 31, 2013.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to journalists in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Aug. 31, 2013.
VOA News
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged world powers to exercise restraint concerning Syria as U.S. President Barack Obama mulls a possible military response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.

Putin said Saturday that any foreign military intervention in Syria would be "utter nonsense" because Syrian government forces are "advancing" against rebels.

He also urged the U.S. to allow the U.N. chemical weapons team that wrapped up its work in Damascus and left Syria on Saturday to present its findings.

"As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who state that the government forces have used weapons of mass destruction, in this case used chemical weapons, and say that they have evidence - let them present them to the U.N. inspectors and the U.N. Security Council,'' he said.

The U.N. inspectors collected samples from the sites of the alleged poison gas attacks in Damascus suburbs. The group will report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. intelligence community had "high confidence" in a report indicating the Syrian government carried out a poison gas attack last week.

Kerry said the evidence, presented in a declassified version of a report, shows more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied launching any chemical attacks.

President Obama has been holding meetings with national security advisors, Congress and allies. He has said he is considering a "limited, narrow" response.

The White House says senior national security officials are holding conference calls with Senate leaders on Saturday to discuss the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons.

In another development, the opposition Syrian National Coalition and some civilians in Damascus say Syrian government forces have been rounding up political prisoners to potentially use as human shields during any military strikes.

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by: Raphael
September 01, 2013 1:12 AM
It should be noted that President Putin has not clearly spelt out what action should follow, should the UN Chemical Inspection Team's findings be positive. Clearly another justification for a military strike will follow, perhaps prove beyond doubt, who was exactly responsible.

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2013 2:52 PM
What is utter nonsense is the fact Putin has been an enabler for assad to murder his own people. By doing so he is an accomplice in the murder of nearly 100,000 civilians. Anyone who protects or aids a criminal, usually is considered a criminal. If I give someone a gun to to go kill someone then tell them to come hide at my house, I am an accomplice and I should be charged. Or if I get in between authorities and the criminal to try and protect the criminal from the crimes he commited.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 31, 2013 1:15 PM
The preparation for this war is taking too long. All the long time spent warning Assad of the strike is enough to help him cover his tracks, and someone will say, where is the chemical weapon used by Saddam Hussein - who was able to cover all his tracks, even at short notice? Come to the matter of threat, Russia appears to be the real threat in the region, supporting Syria's quest for blood and gingering its further threat to make the strike a global issue, probably by going it the way of Iran to send out wide ranging terrorist activities. That on one side, Hezbollah dares not try shoot at Israel even if it sees Israel as an American base. If that happens, conventions should be thrown overboard to deal with Hezbollah once and for all time to permanently end its threat to sanity and security in the region.

To think that USA just wants to strike and run away leaving the status quo is the worst mistake Obama will make in his life and as the president of USA. The result will be more chaotic than allowing Bashar Al Assad get away with this audacious bluff. George W. Bush said Mr. Obama has a difficult choice here - leave it is not good and you're not better with a strike. But the most grievous mistake of it all is telling Assad you want to strike and at the same time giving him enough time to build a bunker, enter its security and you're still preparing. What a joke! This has removed the element of surprise and so you can't get the desired result. By now Assad would have aimed all his missiles at his enemies everywhere they are, unless he does not want to shoot at them to prove his innocence.

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