The Arab League has called on the international community to take " deterrent " action against the culprits of a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in the suburbs of Damascus last month.
Arab League foreign ministers met in Cairo on Sunday and passed a resolution, which fell short of calling for military strikes against Syria as demanded by the United States since several Arab states said they were opposed to foreign military intervention against Damascus. "The United Nations and the international community are called upon to assume their responsibilities in line with the UN Charter and international law by taking the necessary deterrent measures," the foreign ministers said. The ministers, however, said the government of President Bashar al-Assad was "responsible" for the chemical attack. The Cairo meeting was called to discuss the growing war rhetoric against Syria, which started after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the Assad government of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Syria has strongly rejected the allegations and says terrorists carried out the deadly chemical weapons attack. In his address to the Arab League meeting, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal called for a foreign military action in Syria, saying opposing war on the grounds that it is "foreign intervention" is no longer acceptable. "Any opposition to any international action would only encourage Damascus to move forward with committing its crimes and using all weapons of mass destruction," said Faisal. On Saturday, US President Barack Obama said he has decided that Washington must take military action against the Syrian government, which would mean a unilateral military strike without a UN mandate. Obama said that despite having made up his mind, he will take the case to US Congress. But he added that he is prepared to order military action against the Syrian government at any time. Obama once again held the Syrian government responsible for the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus.