Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • US warns Russia against making ‘expensive mistake’ in Ukraine

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • French policemen accused of raping Canadian woman

    Read more

  • Internet should stay free of government intervention, conference says

    Read more

  • A radio station defends peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • Ferry disaster, nuclear test fears cloud Obama’s South Korea trip

    Read more

  • Fresh clashes in Rio over dancer's death

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

Middle east

Obama warns Assad over use of chemical weapons

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-21

Barack Obama threatened Bashar al-Assad with military intervention for the first time on Monday, warning any attempt by Syria to deploy its chemical and biological weapons against rebel fighters would cross a “red line” for the US.

REUTERS - President Barack Obama on Monday threatened U.S. military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning in the strongest terms yet that any attempt to deploy or use chemical or biological weapons would cross a “red line” for the United States.

Pointing out that he had refrained “at this point” from ordering U.S. military engagement in Syria’s bloody conflict, Obama said that there would be “enormous consequences” if Assad failed to safeguard his weapons of mass destruction.

It was Obama’s most explicit language to date on the prospects for military intervention, and he warned Syria not only against using its unconventional weapons, but against moving them in a threatening fashion.

Japanese journalist killed in Syria

Japan's foreign ministry confirmed Tuesday that a woman reporter had been killed in Syria as she was reporting on the conflict-wracked country.

The ministry confirmed the reporter was Mika Yamamoto, 45, said an official in charge of Japanese nationals' safety abroad.

"She was reporting in Aleppo, northern Syria, when she was caught in gunfire," the official said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier reported that an unnamed Japanese female journalist had died in Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting in recent days and weeks, and three other reporters were missing. (AFP)



“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is (if) we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” Obama said. “That would change my calculus.

“We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Obama told an impromptu White House news conference. He acknowledged he was not “absolutely confident” the stockpile was secure.

Obama said the issue was of concern not only to Washington but also to its close allies in the region, including Israel.

He said the United States was putting together a “range of contingency plans” but offered no details.

The United States and its allies are discussing a worst-case scenario that could require tens of thousands of ground troops to go into Syria to secure chemical and biological weapons sites following the fall of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, U.S. and diplomatic officials told Reuters last week.

These secret discussions assume that all of Assad’s security forces disintegrate, leaving chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria vulnerable to pillaging. The scenario also assumes these sites could not be secured or destroyed solely through aerial bombings, given health and environmental risks.

But a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to explain the sensitive discussions, said the United States still had no plans to put troops in Syria.
Resisting US military commitment
Obama, who is seeking re-election in November, has been reluctant to get the United States involved in another war in the Middle East, even refusing to arm rebels fighting a 17-month-old uprising against Assad.

BRAHIMI MEETS FRANCOIS HOLLANDE IN PARIS


Syria last month acknowledged for the first time that it had chemical and biological weapons and said it could use them if foreign countries intervene - a threat that drew strong warnings from Washington and its allies.

Western countries and Israel have expressed fears chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militant groups as Assad’s authority erodes.

Israel has said that if Syrian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas used the situation to take control of the weapons, it would “act immediately and with utmost force.”

“We’re monitoring that situation very carefully,” Obama said when asked whether he envisioned the possibility of using U.S. forces at least to safeguard Syria’s chemical arsenal.

The Global Security website, which collects published intelligence reports and other data, says there are four suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria: north of Damascus, near Homs, in Hama and near the Mediterranean port of Latakia. Weapons it produces include the nerve agents VX, sarin and tabun, it said, without citing its sources.

Obama also used the opportunity to renew his call for Assad to step down.

“The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war, he should move in the direction of a political transition,” Obama said. “But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.”

Obama said the United States already had provided $82 million in humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees and “we’ll probably end up doing a little bit more” to keep the situation from destabilizing Syria’s neighbors.

 

 

Date created : 2012-08-21

  • FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE

    Syria slams UN envoy over comments to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN observers leave Syria as mission ends

    Read more

  • THE INTERVIEW

    New Syria mediator Brahimi hopes for Security Council support

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)