A senior European Parliament official has expressed opposition to any military strike against Syria, saying many questions regarding an alleged gas attack near Damascus are still unanswered.
"Questions remain as to the precise nature of the products used and over 'who decided what'," Arnaud Danjean, the head of the parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence said on Tuesday. The French lawmaker also cast doubts on intelligence gathered by the French government on the attack, saying chemical weapons could have been used in Syria by "autonomous" forces seeking to "pin blame" on President Bashar al-Assad. France and the United States have called for military action against Syria over accusations that the Syrian government was behind the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack. Danjean said that intelligence produced by the Socialist government in Paris was not conclusive and insisted that the options for an eventual diplomatic solution are "more open" than people think. French lawmakers will meet in an extraordinary session on Wednesday to discuss the issue. French President Francois Hollande is constitutionally able to order military action without approval from the parliament. However, some lawmakers urged Hollande to put the issue to a vote, as the US Congress is expected to vote on the military action against Syria. A number of other Western countries, including Britain, were quick to launch a major publicity campaign to rally support for attacking Syria after the alleged gas attack, although Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by militants operating in the Arab country as a false-flag operation. On August 29, Britain’s lawmakers voted against a military intervention in the Arab state despite calls by British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama.