Syrian Opposition to Asharq Al-Awsat: US Considering Strike on Regime in Response to Use of Chemical Weapons

Syrian Opposition to Asharq Al-Awsat: US Considering Strike on Regime in Response to Use of Chemical Weapons

Thursday, 15 February, 2018 - 09:15
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi attend a news conference in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday. (Reuters/Muhammad Hamed)
Amman, Paris, New York- Mohammed Al-Daama, Michel Abou Najem and Ali Barda
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told members of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC), headed by Nasr al-Hariri during a meeting in Amman on Wednesday that Washington was “considering options to pressure the regime, including an action in response to the use of chemical weapons,” Syrian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Tillerson, in a press statement from Jordan, expressed Washington’s concern over reports of the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria.

He noted that the international community did not have “a good mechanism now to deal with these reports,” but “the administration of President (Donald) Trump looks seriously” at the issue.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that his country was prepared to launch strikes against the Syrian regime if evidence revealed that it had carried out chemical weapons attacks against civilians.

"We will strike the place where these launches are made or where they are organized," Macron told the presidential press corps.

"But today our services have not established proof that proscribed chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations," he added.

"As soon as such proof is established, I will do what I said," Macron warned, while adding that "the priority is the fight against the terrorists".

Regarding the Syrian regime itself, either during or after the conflict; "it will be answerable to international justice," he added.

Macron also called for an international meeting on Syria, in the region if possible.

In a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Macron said he was “worried about indications suggesting the possible use of chlorine on several occasions against the civilian population in Syria these last few weeks.”

Senior French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Paris “has the military means” to carry out its threats, through the use of missiles launched by submarines or aircraft, remotely and without the need to fly over Syrian territory to avoid collision with the Syrian air defense system.

However, a military development of this caliber “requires political will, and we do not know if that will is available to President Macron,” the sources added.

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