US, Britain, France Vow ‘Stronger Response’ if Syrian Regime Uses Chemical Weapons Again

US, Britain, France Vow ‘Stronger Response’ if Syrian Regime Uses Chemical Weapons Again

Monday, 10 September, 2018 - 18:45
US national security adviser John Bolton. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States, Britain and France vowed on Monday that they would have a “much stronger response” compared to previous ones should the Syrian regime use chemical weapons once again.

“We’ve tried to convey the message in recent days that if there’s a third use of chemical weapons, the response will be much stronger,” US national security adviser John Bolton said while fielding questions after a policy speech.

“I can say we’ve been in consultation with the British and the French, who joined us in the second strike, and they also agree that another use of chemical weapons will result in a much stronger response,” Bolton said.

The three countries had launched air strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons facilities in wake of an April chemical attack by the regime against Douma, a Damascus suburb, that left scores dead.

US officials have said in recent days they have evidence that regime forces are preparing chemical weapons ahead of a planned assault on the opposition-held enclave in Idlib in the northwestern part of the country.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters late last week he was involved in a routine dialogue with the White House about military options should Syria ignore US warnings against using chemical arms.

Bolton, after a speech condemning the International Criminal Court, said the judicial body’s failure to act in response to earlier chemical weapons attacks was evidence that it was ineffectual in deterring war crimes.

He also dismissed claims that US actions against Syria encouraged al-Qaeda extremists to use chemical weapons and blame the attacks on the regime.

“The government of Russia and others have said that we are giving the authorization for al-Qaeda to use chemical weapons and try and pin it on the regime of Syria,” Bolton said on the eve of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. “That has to be, in the history of propaganda in the 20th and 21st centuries, one of the most outrageous claims that I can think of.”

Meanwhile, Germany said it was talking with allies about the situation in Syria but is not confirming a report that Berlin is mulling the possibility of participating in future military strikes.

Without naming sources, the Bild newspaper reported Monday that the defense ministry is examining the possibility of some kind of involvement in future military action if Syria's regime carries out a further chemical attack. It said that followed a US request to the chancellery.

Germany stayed out of previous US-led airstrikes but voiced its support.

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