US forces are ‘ready’ to launch an attack on Syria at President Barack Obama’s command. That’s what US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday adding to mounting speculation of a possible imminent military intervention by Western countries.
The comments came after US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that it is ‘undeniable’ that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians last week, even though Bashar Al-assad strongly denies it.
“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable. The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself, and that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering.
There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences,” said US Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
Kerry spoke after UN experts were shot at on their way to investigate the scene of the chemical weapons attack in the outskirts of Damascus.
The European Union strongly condemned the attack on Tuesday.
“All parties must ensure that they carry on their work safely in the best possible conditions. Any actions that would put them in danger and prevent them from carrying out their work would be totally unacceptable.”
“We also noticed that the Syrian authorities did not give more than 90 minutes to the UN inspectors on the site.” aid deputy spokesman for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton Sebastian Braban on Tuesday in Brussels.
Earlier on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in Tallin that no EU decision on military action has been agreed yet as it is difficult to reach a joint decision.
The European Commission also confirmed on Tuesday that a meeting between the US and Russia on Wednesday over the Syrian conflict has now been called off.
Moscow recently said that any military intervention would have ‘catastrophic consequences.’
According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the Syrian war started in March 2011.