NATO Chief: Syria Military Option Must Stay Open

It is essential to maintain momentum in diplomatic and political process, NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen says.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The option of carrying out a military strike or similar operation in Syria must be kept open as a way of dealing with the crisis, the secretary-general of the NATO military alliance said on Thursday.

Anders Rasmussen welcomed a U.S.-Russian agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons, but said it was essential for keeping momentum in the diplomatic and political process that the military option remained on the table.

"I think, irrespective of the outcome of the deliberations in the UN Security Council, the military option will still be on the table," Rasmussen said at an event organized by the Carnegie Europe thinktank.

A draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria's chemical weapons under discussion in New York leaves the door open to the use of force if Syria does not comply. Russia is expected to oppose this provision.

Rasmussen said he had no doubt the Syrian government was behind an Aug. 21 sarin gas attack on a Damascus suburb that the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.

He dismissed an allegation made by the Syrian government and Moscow that the rebels were responsible.

"The missiles were launched from areas controlled by the government," he said.

"It doesn't make sense for the opposition to attack their own people with chemical weapons in areas they already control, and furthermore, we don't think the opposition has at its disposal means to carry out a chemical weapons attack of that scope and scale."

A Free Syrian Army takes up a defensive position during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad at the Al-Arbaeen mountain in the Idlib countryside September 18, 2013.Credit: Reuters
NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen speaks to members of the press following a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street, central London on September 18, 2013.Credit: AFP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott