Obama warns Syria on chemical weapons

2013-04-27 11:00
Barack Obama (Picture: AP)

Barack Obama (Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US President Barack Obama has warned Syria that using chemical weapons would be a "game changer," as he faces rising pressure at home and abroad to intervene in the country's bloody civil war.

But speaking on  Friday, a day after US officials said they suspected the use of the deadly agent sarin in small-scale attacks, Obama warned that Washington must act prudently, and establish exactly if, how and when such arms were used.

Obama, who had previously told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line", promised a "vigorous" US and international probe into the latest reports.

But he appeared wary of launching military action based on initial intelligence reports of chemical weapons use.

Obama did reiterate that the use of chemical weapons would be "a game changer", as he met Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Oval Office.

"I think all of us, not just in the United States but around the world, recognise how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations," he said.

"We have to act prudently. We have to make assessments deliberately," he cautioned.

The spectre of the invasion of Iraq, which led to a eight-year war that killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4 500 US soldiers, looms large.

The 2003 invasion was justified on the basis of claims that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be false.

"We have seen very bad movies before when intelligence is perceived to have driven policy decisions that in the full light of day have proven wrong," a US defence official said on condition of anonymity.

The fighting in Syria, which the UN says has killed more than 70 000 people since March 2011, showed no signs of abating on Saturday, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting fresh fighting in central Hama.
Read more on:    barack obama  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
27 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.