France’s foreign minister called Thursday for unspecified forceful action against Syria if it were shown that Bashar Assad’s regime massacred its citizens with chemical weapons.
The statement, by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, came the morning after Russia and China blocked a motion co-authored by France at the UN Security Council, which harshly condemned the use of chemical weapons and called on Syria to allow UN inspectors to look into Wednesday’s alleged attack.
Syrian activists close to the country’s opposition claimed hundreds of people were killed in a devastating “poison gas” attack by regime forces outside Damascus. Some said that the death toll could be as high as 1,300.
“If it is proven, France’s position is that there must be a reaction… We need a reaction by the international community …. a reaction of [military] force,” Fabius told a local news station.
He excluded boots on the ground as an option, but called for “a reaction that can take a form, I don’t want to be more precise, of force.”
Also Thursday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that only Syria’s government was in possession of the type of chemical weapons that the opposition claims were used in the attack.
Bozdag urged the international community on to act against “this crime against humanity,” and put a stop to Assad’s violence. “How many more people must die before you say, ‘This is enough?'” he asked.
The Associated Press contributed to this article