Arab states urge action against Syrian government

A general view of the Arab foreign ministers emergency meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis and the potential military strike on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, September 1, 2013. (Reuters)

Arab states on Sunday urged the international community to take action against the Syrian government over a chemical gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians, Reuters reported.

The final resolution passed by an Arab League meeting in Cairo urged the United Nations and international community to “take the deterrent and necessary measures against the culprits of this crime that the Syrian regime bears responsibility for.”

The League foreign ministers also said those responsible for the attack should face trial, as other “war criminals” have.

Before the Arab states passing their resolution, head of the main Syrian opposition group, Ahmad al-Jarba, urged the Arab League’s foreign ministers to back potential U.S. led Western strikes on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday.

He made the statement during a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.

“I am here before you today to appeal to your brotherly and [humane] sentiments and ask you to back the international operation against the destructive war machine,” of the Syrian regime, Reuters quoted al-Jarba as saying during the meeting.

Jarba said he is calling for a military strike to stop the “Syrian regime killing its people with the help of the Iranian invader.”

He described Iran as “concealing its false brotherhood.”

He also warned that fighters from Iran, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, and “extremist militants” from Iraq are “killing the Syrian people.”

The opposition chief said the “Syrian people have suffered enough from the Syrian oppressive regime.”

He added: “Syria should be the battle ground to confront Iranian interference,” in the region.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also called on the international community to take all the necessary steps to deter Syrian government violence, which surpassed “all red lines,” according to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

“The time has come to call on the world community to bear its responsibility and take the deterrent measure that puts a halt to the tragedy,” Reuters quoted Prince Faisal as saying during the meeting.

A weak international response will only “encourage” Assad regime to further quell its people, he added.

However, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said his country is against a military strike on Syria, but not because it defends the embattled regime.

Fahmy said the only end to the Syrian crisis is via a “political solution.”

Before the meeting

Before the meeting prince Faisal said that Syria was not seeking a political but a military solution to solve its 29-month crisis that has killed more than 100,000 people.

Damascus has used “poisonous gases,” against its people and “started firing at people at the start of the crisis.”

“We cannot bear seeing Syrian people being shelled with poisonous gases this way,” he said. He went on to urge “the international community to stop aggression by the Syrian regime against its people.”

On Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama said that he will seek congressional approval for a “limited strike” to punish the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons on Aug. 21 in a Damascus district. The attack, according to Washington, killed at least 1,400 people.

Commenting on the prospect of a U.S. strike, he said: “We stand by the will of the Syrian people. They know best their interests, so whatever they accept, we accept, and whatever they refuse, were fuse.”

Prince Faisal said Arab countries are “incapable” of solving the Syrian crisis.

“We wish that [Arabs had the ability] to solve this…but there is no one unfortunately. Finally it is the choice of the Security Council and there is a veto.”

He added that Saudi Arabia has helped the Syrian opposition against a regime “that doesn’t [want] to show compassion or allow mercy.”

He added: “We need to help them by halting the bloodshed, and not by merely condemning the violence. But [we need to] help them with all legal means possible…against aggression that will almost make Syrians extinct.”

Fahmy said that his Arab counterparts will keep on negating and that Cairo condemns whoever used chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.

(With Reuters)

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