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Nation/World

August 29, 2013

Fears of Western strike on Syria spread in Mideast

(Continued)

French President Francois Hollande convened his top defense advisers about Syria, and was to meet Thursday with the head of Syria’s main opposition group.

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron held a meeting on Syria and said the military and security chiefs at Britain’s National Security Council “unanimously” backed his call for action. Parliament was expected to convene Thursday to discuss the matter and possibly vote on whether Britain would participate.

Jordan, meanwhile, said it will not be used as a launching pad for attacks on Syria and favors a diplomatic solution. A U.S.-led strike would involve cruise missile attacks from the sea, which would not need to cross or make use of Jordanian territory.

The remarks underlined the U.S. ally’s efforts to avoid further friction with its larger neighbor for fear that Assad or his Iranian backers could retaliate.

Two of Syria’s staunchest backers, Iran and Russia, warned that an attack by U.S. and its allies against Syria would set the region alight.

Such strikes “will lead to the long-term destabilization of the situation in the country and the region,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said attacking Syria would be catastrophic for the entire Middle East.

“Intervention of foreign and extra-regional powers in a country has no result other than sparking fire,” Iran’s state TV quoted Khamenei as saying. “Waging a war is like a spark in a gunpowder store ... its dimensions and consequences can’t be predicted.”

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