Hundreds gassed to death in Syria, world paralysed
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Last Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013, 09:18
  
Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek

Damascus: An emerging video footage from Syria showing scores of bodies dumped in hospitals and children having convulsions, suggesting that there could be a semblance of truth in Opposition’s claims of a chemical weapons attack in the country, has left the world shocked.

Western governments on Wednesday demanded an immediate UN inquiry after Syria's main opposition group accused the government of "massacring" more than 1,300 people in chemical weapons attacks near Damascus.

Though most world leaders condemned, demanded investigation but failed to act or devise a plan of action to check a potential disaster.

For the United States, the situation was particularly dicey. The gory images put the spotlight back on President Barack Obama's pledge to respond forcefully to any chemical weapons use by the Assad government.

General Martin Dempsey, US’ chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly told a congressman that the administration is opposed to even limited action in Syria because it believes rebels fighting the Assad government wouldn't support American interests if they seized power.

Britain, like the US, had also warned against any such attacks, with former UK General Sir David Richards saying that the UK would 'have to act if the Assad regime collapsed in chaos to safeguard his massive nerve agent dumps from terrorists clutches'.

Britain too, it seems, remains non-committal to any offence against Syria’s anti-Assad opposition.

Germany condemned the act but stopped short of taking any action against Syrian rebels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if accusations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria were true it would be a "frightful crime".

However she once again ruled out sending arms to the opposition.

Saudi Arabia too urged UN Security Council to act, as Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, said, "It is time for the UN Security Council to assume responsibility... By convening immediately to reach a clear deterrent decision that ends the humanitarian tragedy."

Syrian anti-Assad activists had accused the government of carrying out a toxic gas attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. The claims coincided with a visit by a UN chemical weapons team to three previous sites of alleged attacks.

The Syrian government denied the allegations, describing them as "illogical and fabricated". The Syrian army said the opposition made up the claims to divert attention from the huge losses its forces had suffered recently.


First Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 14:13


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