EU: Syria military action must wait till U.N. probe is finished


McClatchy Foreign Staff

European foreign ministers on Saturday called the alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus a war crime deserving of a “strong answer.” But they said any military action to retaliate for the attack must wait until after the results are known of a United Nations investigation into what took place.

U.N. investigators spent four days at the site late last month, and the samples they took there are now being processed at laboratories in Europe.

The foreign ministers said they believe that only the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had the capacity to unleash such a large amount of toxic chemicals, but there was little practical impact to their statement. Europeans are overwhelmingly opposed to military involvement in the Syrian civil war, public opinion surveys show. While France’s president, Francois Hollande, has pledged to join any action led by the United States, German officials, with national elections just two weeks away, have declined to embrace the idea. A national poll by German Public Television showed 58 percent of Germans oppose involvement in military action, while only a third support it.

Meanwhile, a new poll for the French newspaper Le Figaro showed 64 percent of French citizens opposed.

The French National Assembly is expected to authorize French participation in any military action in Syria this week, but Hollande has said he would honor European wishes and wait for the results of the United Nations tests.

Email:; Twitter: @mattschodcnews

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miners wait for their turn to help in the rescue operations at El Comal gold and silver mine after a landslide trapped at least 24 miners inside, in Bonanza, Nicaragua, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Rescuers on Friday located 20 of at least 24 gold miners trapped by a landslide in northern Nicaragua, but were not immediately able to bring them to safety.

    24 Nicaraguan miners still trapped in gold mine

    Rescuers using long ladders tried to get food and water to freelance miners trapped in a Nicaraguan gold mine, as the effort to reach the 24 men entered its second day.

In this Aug. 26, 2014 photo, a small group of Central American migrants rides atop a freight train as it heads north from Arriaga to Ixtepec, Mexico. A Mexican crackdown seems to be keeping women and children off the deadly train, known as "The Beast," that has traditionally helped thousands of migrants head north. The once-open route to the United States has become so difficult that trains now carry a small fraction of the migrants they used to - and almost exclusively adult men. American and Mexican officials say they are noticing the same drop-off all along the route

    Mexico operations thwart child, family migrants

    Mexico is making a big effort to stop the flow of Central Americans trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants. But it is unclear for how long federal officials will keep up the raids.

  • New Zealand justice minister resigns amid scandal

    New Zealand's Justice Minister Judith Collins has resigned from her portfolios amid a scandal about her ties to a controversial blogger.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category