French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has tossed into the ring of international possibilities for action in Syria a stark warning: If chemical weapons really were used, the world should react with force.
“We need a reaction by the international community … a reaction of [military] force,” he said, as The Associated Press reported. He said ground troops should be taken off the table, but not other types of force — a “reaction that can take a form, I don’t want to be more precise, of force.”
Mr. Fabius issued the statement Thursday, one day after members of the U.N. Security Council demanded “a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation.” President Obama, meanwhile, called for the United Nations to launch such an investigation.
The latest allegation of chemical weapon use in the nation — both sides in the civil war previously have alleged the same — came from rebel forces. They claim that President Bashar Assad’s military unleashed poison gas at a rebel stronghold outside Damascus, killing at least 136 people, including civilians. Other media reports have put the number of dead from alleged chemical weaponry in the hundreds.
So far, there has not been independent verification of the chemical weapon attack or of the death count.