The US and its allies are considering military action against sites in Syria. But what do countries in the region and beyond think about any possible action?
Outside the region
Following a cautious reaction to the initial reports of a chemical weapons attack, American rhetoric has hardened. Secretary of State John Kerry said the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government was “undeniable” and a “moral obscenity”.
Washington has recently bolstered its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, prompting speculation that preparation for an attack is under way. Analysts believe the most likely US action would be sea-launched cruise missiles targeting Syrian military installations. However, support for military action among the US public is not clear cut, with opinion polls suggesting about half of Americans oppose even a limited strike.
A government motion in support of military action in Syria has been rejected by MPs in Parliament, forcing the UK to rule itself out of any joint intervention.
This was seen as a blow for the government of Prime Minister David Cameron. However, the prime minister says he supports the idea – even though he respects the vote.
French President Francois Hollande has said France is prepared to go ahead with military intervention, even though the UK will play no part in any action.
“France wants firm and proportionate action against the Damascus regime,” he told a French newspaper, and indicated it could come within the week.
France has been amongst the most hawkish Western countries with regard to Syria, being the first Western power to recognise the main opposition coalition as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative. In May, France, along with the UK, successfully lobbied for the EU’s arms embargo to be lifted so as to allow further supplies to the rebels.
Russia is one of Mr Assad’s most important international backers and has stressed the need for a political solution to the crisis.
It has sharply criticised any possibility of Western strikes on Syria, saying action taken outside the UN Security Council threatened “catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa”.
China has joined Russia in blocking resolutions critical of Syria at the UN Security Council. It has also criticised the prospect of strikes against Syria.
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who might have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.
Berlin has ruled itself out of participation in any military action. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a German newspaper that “such participation has not been sought nor is it being considered by us”.
Germany has said in the past that proof of the use of chemical weapons by the government of Bashar al-Assad would demand “consequences” but has not set out what those consequences should be.
The Turkish government has been one of the …read more