News / Middle East

France Warns Syria on Chemical Weapons Use

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, August 17, 2012.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, August 17, 2012.
VOA News
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says Western powers would have a "massive" response to any use of chemical or biological weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Fabius said in broadcast interviews Monday there is broad agreement about such a response, calling chemical weapons "a very big danger."

His comments come as the head of the International Red Cross travels to Syria for a three-day visit that will include meetings with Assad and other officials. The group says the talks will focus on the "rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Syria and the challenges in reaching those impacted by the conflict.

Meanwhile, the new United Nations-Arab League envoy tasked with bringing a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis says he has "no illusions" that his job will be easy.

Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League envoy for Syria (2012 photo)Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League envoy for Syria (2012 photo)
x
Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League envoy for Syria (2012 photo)
Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League envoy for Syria (2012 photo)
Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi said in an interview broadcast Monday by the BBC that he does not yet see any ways around the barriers that blocked the efforts of his predecessor, Kofi Annan, but that he will continue trying.

Brahimi says he realizes the difficulty of his task, and that success "should be possible."

Annan quit last month, complaining that he could not fulfill his mission due to international divisions on Syria and escalating attacks by both Syrian government and rebel forces.

Brahimi says the lack of international action as people in Syria continue dying "is a terrible weight."  

Opposition activists are reporting more deaths Monday, saying a bombing by a Syrian warplane has killed at least 15 people in the northern town of Al-Bab.

  • This image made from video provided by Shaam News Network (SNN) and accessed by the Associated Press on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 purports to show people walking through rubble after shelling in Idlib, Syria.
  • Residents inspect the damage after what was said to be an air raid by Syrian government forces near Azaz, September 3, 2012.
  • A Syrian child stands next to rebel fighters checking a house that was damaged in bombing by government forces in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 4, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter prepares his AK-47 before going on patrol in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 4, 2012.
  • A view shows the wreckage after a car bomb exploded in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus September 3, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
  • Civilians wait to receive food rations in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz. At the Azaz-Kilis crossing, Syrians described dire conditions for refugees still trapped on the other side of the border.
  • Syrian Hamzah Abu Bakri, displays portraits of his brothers who were killed last week while standing by their vegetable shop in Aleppo, Syria, September 2, 2012.
  • Boys play on a Syrian military tank (destroyed during fighting with the rebels), in Azaz, September 2, 2012.
  • A Syrian refugee hangs clothes to dry at Zaatari Refugee Camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, September 2, 2012.
  • Syrian barbers who fled their homes shave the heads of other displaced men at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey.
  • A civilian pushes a baby stroller containing his belongings as he flees the El Edaa district in Aleppo, September 2, 2012.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
September 03, 2012 7:18 PM
This is a legacy question in the West. So many people from across the world were murdered by chemical weapons in Northern Europe during WW1 in these European civil wars.. Of course, there would be no recourse but to throw oneself into the fight at the point. This is thee red line we all will hold because of those who went before us.

by: Mike from: California
September 03, 2012 12:55 PM
Really? France is warning Syria against using chemical weapons? Does anyone really think France will attack Syria under any conditions? I don't. Syria knows it has a free-hand within its own boarders and will eventually kill the oposition. The west has already made it clear that there will be no intervention. Iran, China, and Russia will make sure Asad has what he needs both politically and materially. I think western leaders are just trying to create political cover they can refer to later so they can say they "did" something when they really didn't.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs