DAMASCUS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Syria on Saturday told Iran that it will give UN inspectors access to the site of the recent alleged chemical attack near Damascus, while the U.S. administration discussed options for military intervention in the Middle East country.
Syria is preparing for the opportunity for UN inspectors to visit the places that have been chemically attacked by terrorist groups, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif in a phone conversation, according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.
Also on Saturday, Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main Western-backed opposition group in exile, called upon Western and Arab countries to intervene to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
"We ask U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of other western countries and Arab world to be responsible at personal level and intervene to stop the 'massacre' in Syria," said SNC president Ahmad al-Jarba in Istanbul, Turkey.
He added that the SNC leaders also made phone calls with the heads of the United States, France, Britain, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey, asking them to take further and more serious steps in Syria.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama discussed options of responding to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons with his military and security advisors as well as foreign allies of the United States.
Without revealing details of the meeting, the White House said in a statement that Obama "received a detailed review of a range of potential options he had requested be prepared for the Untied States and the international community to respond to the use of chemical weapons."
The White House also said that Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday talked over the phone about security challenges in Syria.
The two leaders vowed to continue to consult closely on the reported use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces against civilians near Damascus, as well as possible responses by the international community to the use of chemical weapons, said the White House statement.
In a Friday interview with U.S. TV network CNN, Obama said he was cautious on whether to intervene militarily in Syria, saying "if the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it."
U.S. media reports on Saturday quoted unidentified defense officials as saying that the U.S. Navy had sent a fourth warship, which is armed with cruise missiles, into the eastern Mediterranean Sea, as part of the preparation for a possible military response to Syria.
As the U.S. and its allies are mulling over a possible military response, the Syrian government dismissed foreign intervention, saying that striking the country would have grave repercussions that would affect the entire Middle East region.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in an interview with the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV that Washington's pressure would not be useful and would be a "waste of time and we will not weaver in combatting terrorism."
"Striking Syria would not be a picnic under any circumstances," the minister said, noting his country is totally cooperating with UN inspectors with "transparency."
Also Saturday, at least five people were killed and some others injured when a mortar shell struck a Christian-dominated district in Damascus.
Three days after UN inspectors arrived in Damascus, Syrian activists accused the government of launching a gas attack that killed more than 1,300 people on Wednesday in the suburbs of the country's capital.
If confirmed, it would be by far the worst reported use of chemical arms in the two-year-old civil war.
The Syrian government has denied the allegation and in turn, blamed the rebels. Latest media reports said that the rebels used chemical substance on Saturday in a fighting against government troops, suffocating some soldiers.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama convened a meeting of his national security team on Saturday to review options of responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Obama and his military and security aides met at the White House to assess the latest intelligence concerning the alleged chemical attack by Syrian government troops last Wednesday, and discuss the options of a U.S. response, the White House said in a statement. Full story
ISTANBUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition umbrella group in exile, called upon Saturday the West and Arabic countries to intervene to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
Ahmad Al-Jarba, the president of the SNC, said "We ask U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of other Western countries and Arab world to be responsible at personal level and intervene to stop the 'massacre' in Syria." Full story