France will seek to react with “force” if a massacre in Syria involving chemical weapons is confirmed, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying on Thursday.
“If it is proven, France’s position is that there must be a reaction,” Fabius told BFM-TV. He also spoke of a “reaction with force” whilst judging it “impossible” to send ground troops.
A chemical weapon attack on Wednesday killed an estimated 1,300 people, including children and women, according to opposition leader George Sabra.
The assault could be considered the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since 1988 when thousands of Kurds were gassed in Halabcha, a town in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, by Saddam Hussein’s forces.
The chemical assault in Syria prompted meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.
While Western and regional countries called for U.N. chemical weapons investigators, who arrived in Damascus four days ago, to be urgently dispatched to the scene, Syria’s two main allies, Iran and Russia denied such allegations against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday the Syrian government could not have been behind a possible chemical weapon attack as Assad’s forces had the upper hand in the fighting, AFP reported.
“If the use of chemical weapons is true, it has definitely been carried out by terrorist ... groups, because they have proved in action that they refrain from no crime,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Zarif as telling his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, in a telephone conversation.
Meanwhile, Russia on Wednesday described the Syrian opposition claims of the Ghouta assault as “premeditated provocation.”
Source: Reuters; AFP