U.S. naval ships are moving closer to Syria as US President Barack Obama is reportedly furious over the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on protesters.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has confirmed that the US president had asked Pentagon to look at the military options available, though the US attack on Syria may not be unilateral in view of stiff opposition from Russia and China.
Otherwise, so far four warships have been moved into the eastern Mediterranean with ballistic missiles capable of striking Syrian targets anytime. Hagel said the U.S. is probing into the allegations to determine “what exactly did happen” near Damascus.
A chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus, the capital on Wednesday killed at least 1,000 people. Last time the chemical weapons were reportedly used by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on Kurd rebels in Halabja in 1988.
The chemical attack on protesters has evoked adverse global reaction to Assad’s government but the government forces said the chemicals were found in tunnels used by protesters and not moved or used by the army.
Meanwhile, the United Nations disarmament chief, Angela Kane, arrived in Damascus on Saturday to seek the Syrian government nod to allow U.N. experts to probe the alleged chemical attacks.
For over a year now, the US has threatened to deal sternly with the Assad’s regime if it ever used chemical weapons. Now that the reports are pointing an accusing finger at the Assad government, the US reaction would be swift. Unlike in February, when it took four months to determine the reports of the usage of chemical weapons, the UN panel is already on the ground in Syria now and the report should come out in days.
Once the Assad government allows the UN panel, the report should determine the US action. Most probably, the warships will begin missile attacks, followed by the arms supply to the rebels in Syria.