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'Armageddon' risk to Syrian people

The people of Syria risk "Armageddon" if the international community fails to respond robustly to the use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad, David Cameron suggested.

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons it would be "perilous" for the world to step back from Barack Obama's warning that chemical weapons use was a "red line" issue, as it might embolden Assad to repeat the deadly attacks.

Downing Street denied that Mr Cameron was seeking to send a message to the US president to press ahead with military strikes against the Assad regime, insisting that this was a decision for Washington to make.

His warning came as Mr Obama said the credibility of the international community was "on the line" unless it enforces the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been signed by 98% of the world's nations.

Speaking in Sweden a day before the G20 summit of world leaders in St Petersburg, hosted by Russian president and close Assad ally Vladimir Putin, Mr Obama said: "I didn't set the red line - the world set the red line...

"My credibility isn't on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line, and America and Congress's credibility is on the line, if we give lip service to the idea that these norms are important."

On the eve of the St Petersburg summit, Mr Putin warned that Western military action without United Nations backing would be an act of aggression. But he said he "doesn't exclude" Moscow voting in favour of a military response at the Security Council if evidence is produced proving the regime was behind the attack.

It was "absolutely absurd" to assume Assad's forces would risk the international consequences of using banned weapons when they were on the front foot in the battle with opposition forces for that part of Damascus, he said.

There needed to be "evidence that would be obvious and prove beyond doubt who did it and what means were used".

Mr Obama said he remained convinced that the regime was to blame for the deadly chemical attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21, which killed at least 1,400, including 400 children.


From Belfast Telegraph