Video: UN inspectors arrive outside Damascus at site of chemical attack.
Israeli cabinet convenes to discuss probable U.S.- U.K. attack.
Momentum appeared to build Wednesday for Western military action against Syria, with the U.S. and France saying they are in position for a strike, while the government in Damascus vowed to use all possible measures to repel it.
The prospect of a dramatic U.S.-led intervention into Syria’s civil war stemmed from the West’s assertion – still not endorsed by UN inspectors – that President Bashar Assad‘s government was responsible for an alleged chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus on August 21 that the group Doctors Without Borders says killed 355 people. Assad denies the claim.
The Arab League also threw its weight behind calls for punitive action, blaming the Syrian government for the attack and calling for those responsible to be brought to justice.
Israel’s political-security cabinet convened on Wednesday morning to discuss a possible U.S. strike on Syria, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would respond with force if it came under attack.
1:35 P.M. Germany urges Russia to support a British draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning attacks by Assad and authorizing ‘necessary measures’ to protect civilians. “We urge all members of the Security Council, in particular Russia, to seize this opportunity and contribute to a common stance by the global community against the use of chemical weapons of mass destruction in Syria,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. (Reuters)
1:16 P.M. UN special envoy to Syria Brahimi says evidence suggests that some kind of chemical “substance” was used in the alleged gas attack near Damascus the killed hundreds on August 21, but said any military action must have the approval of the UN Security Council. (AP)
1:13 P.M. Despite no clear instructions from Home Front Command, long queues are seen at gas mask distribution centers across Israel. (Gili Cohen)
12:29 P.M. Britain will put a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemning attacks by Assad and authorizing ‘necessary measures’ to protect civilians from chemical weapons, Prime Minister David Cameron says. (Reuters)
11:54 A.M. United Nations inspectors should be given time to determine whether forces have used chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in The Hague. (Reuters)
11:41 A.M. UN team reaches rebel-held territory near Damascus to begin inspection (Reuters)
11:12 A.M. Russia evacuates its citizens from Syria, says an attack will further destabilize the region. (AP)
10:57 A.M. UN inspectors in Syria en route to alleged poison gas attack site (Reuters)
10:02 A.M. Russia tells UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi that attacking Syria would destabilize the region (Reuters)
10:40 A.M. Israel’s political-security cabinet convenes to discuss a possible U.S. strike on Syria. (Barak Ravid)
9:51 A.M. U.S. Defense Minister Chuck Hagel meets Asian defense leaders as West prepares military action against Syria. (AP)
View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.543986