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Al Assad must not cross the red line

The Syrian regime cannot be allowed to use chemical weapons, but to ensure that, evidence must be conclusive

Gulf News

There are growing signs from both inside and outside Syria that the end game in the 21-month long bloody civil war is entering its final stages.

A largely unified Syrian opposition, aided by the acquisition of more sophisticated weaponry from external sources, has seen them make gains and advance in the region around Damascus.

There is little room for President Bashar Al Assad to manoeuvre. Already, there are murmurs that some Middle East or Latin American countries are prepared to offer asylum to Al Assad and his loyal cadre of leaders. However, there are also alarming signals coming from western sources that indicate that the Al Assad regime is beginning to mix some of its deadly arsenal of chemical weapons in a last desperate bid to cling on to power.

If the struggle in Syria has failed to unify all members of the UN Security Council into action — based on the reservations of China and Russia — any use of chemical weapons will spur unity. Use of chemical weapons is a red line that cannot be crossed. If there is any suggestion that the regime is committed to such an action, it is imperative for all nations to stop such a deed. But let us be clear — the evidence must be beyond doubt. Not the stuff of false intelligence that led to intervention in Iraq. Al Assad is not Saddam Hussain. The proof must be irrefutable.