Vladimir Putin ‘doesn’t exclude’ backing military force on Syria if evidence proves ‘beyond doubt’ Assad used chemical weapons
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said he would not rule out endorsing military action in Syria if it could be proven that Bashar al-Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons against its citizens.
Though he “doesn’t exclude” the possibility of backing force, he said that action should only be taken once evidence has been submitted to the UN Security Council and that, at present, he felt it was “ludicrous” that the government of President Assad would use chemical weapons at a time when it was holding sway against the rebels.
Speaking in an interview with the Associated Press, he said: “From our viewpoint, it seems absolutely absurd that the armed forces, the regular armed forces, which are on the offensive today and in some areas have encircled the so-called rebels and are finishing them off, that in these conditions they would start using forbidden chemical weapons while realizing quite well that it could serve as a pretext for applying sanctions against them, including the use of force.
“If there are data that the chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the UN Security Council,” he added. “And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by special services through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that.”
Source: The Independent
In another version of the interview on Al Jazeera, he goes on to say this:
If there was clear proof of what weapons were used and who used them, Russia “will be ready to act in the most decisive and serious way,” Putin said.