News / Middle East

NATO Chief Convinced Syrian Regime Behind Chemical Attack

Girls who survived from what activists alleged was a gas attack by the Syrian government rest in a mosque in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on August 21, 2013.
Girls who survived from what activists alleged was a gas attack by the Syrian government rest in a mosque in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on August 21, 2013.
NATO's secretary-general said on Monday he had seen evidence convincing him Syrian authorities were behind a deadly chemical weapons attack and said it would send a "dangerous signal to dictators'' if the world did not respond firmly.

However, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was up to individual NATO countries to decide how they would respond to the attack and he did not envisage any NATO role beyond existing plans to defend NATO member Turkey, which borders Syria.

"I have been presented with concrete information and, without going into details, I can tell you that personally I am convinced, not only that a chemical attack has taken place ...but I am also convinced that the Syrian regime is responsible,'' Rasmussen told a news conference.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will seek congressional authorization for punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after what Washington said was a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 people.

Rasmussen said there was "agreement that we need a firm international response in order to avoid that chemical attacks take place in the future. It would send, I would say, a dangerous signal to dictators all over the world if we stand idly by and don't react.''

But Rasmussen said he saw no further role for NATO in the Syria crisis, beyond defending Turkey.

"If a response to what has happened in Syria were to be a military operation, I'd envisage a very short, measured, targeted operation, and you don't need the NATO command and control system to conduct such a short, measured, tailored, military operation,'' he said.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 02, 2013 1:39 PM
The issue on ground goes beyond condemnation of the use of unconventional war weapons - the chemical weapons. Right now the world is saying it is wrong to go to war, but that has not stopped the making of wars by those who must war. The UN, EU, AU, AL, NATO etc have been passing resolutions upon resolutions mostly condemning actions taken by various governments at various times, but those have not helped the UN to provide security to lives nor have they stopped those who will kill others to live or remain in government. What is NATO talking about again? It is even clearer now that the world bodies and their regional counterparts are becoming increasingly helpless and/or useless in the face of members that have different interests and concerns.

What is the essence of condemning another of Assad's actions when previous condemnations have not achieved anything? And what is even the use of limited strike on Syria if the battlefields will continue from where they are now without restoring cool to the people suffering from the effects of a civil war? Think it’s right to disband all these regional bodies, including the UN that has lost its focus.

With the Arab Spring now inviting us all back into the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages, a precedence has been set to collapse all civilization and return to the period where every country’s alliance and their military strength should form the basis of their defense rather than a dependence on a United Nations Organization that is no better than a school debating society.

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