Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Putin warns US against military action on Syria

The Guardian, WASHINGTON and PARIS

US President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Syria during a meeting with members of Congress at the White House in Washington yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US against launching military action in Syria, stating that Russia has “plans” on how it would react if such a scenario unfolded.

The Russian president’s comments came as US President Barack Obama for the first time portrayed his plans for US military action as part of a broader strategy to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as the White House’s campaign to win over the skeptics in Congress gained momentum.

In an interview with Russia’s Channel 1 television, Putin said it was too early to talk about what Russia would do if the US attacked Syria, but added: “We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. We have our plans.”

At the same time he said Russia did not exclude supporting a UN resolution on punitive military strikes if it were proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people, but he described the idea that Syrian government forces would use chemical weapons at a time when he said they were in the ascendancy and knowing the potential repercussions as absurd.

In the US, senators were set to begin a series of votes yesterday to authorize a 90-day window for US military action against Syria.

A new draft resolution was agreed by leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after US Secretary of State John Kerry pressed a forceful case for striking against the al-Assad regime.

Earlier, Obama secured the backing of the Republican leadership at a key White House meeting.

Also yesterday afternoon, the French parliament was set to debate the question of intervention in Syria, but without a vote.

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