ALERT! Latest events in Syria likely to trigger WW3
France and other opponents of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad decried the alleged large-scale use of chemical weapons, with some officials calling for concerted action if the allegations are confirmed.
But Western nations, which have led a campaign to bring down the Assad regime, face a dilemma that has dogged them since the start of civil war more than two years ago: whether they could intervene in Syria without clashing with its two powerful supporters, Russia and Iran.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during 2012 celebration of the prophet Mohammed's birthday.
The U.S. suspects chemical weapons were indeed used by the Syrian government on Wednesday, a senior administration official said, but Washington said further investigation would be necessary to be certain. Syrian authorities denied using chemical weapons in their renewed offensive on Wednesday.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the international community must act with force in Syria if the use of poison gas is confirmed in attacks Wednesday that opposition groups said killed more than 1,100 people.
If the use of chemical weapons in the attack near Damascus is confirmed, the United NationsSecurity Council should act decisively, Fabius told French television. Should Russia veto such a move, a decision must be reached in another way, he said, without elaborating, though he ruled out the deployment of ground troops.