Russia warns West over Syria following Obama threats

  • Russia has warned the West against unilateral action on Syria, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama threatened "enormous consequences" if Damascus used biological or chemical weapons on the rebels.

    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s commitment to "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law ... and not to allow their violation".

    Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, after meeting Lavrov in Moscow, said Obama's warnings were merely to rile up the media.

    He said the West was looking for an excuse to intervene, comparing the focus on Syria's chemical weapons with the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led forces and baseless suspicions that Saddam Hussein was concealing weapons of mass destruction.

    Russia, along with China, has opposed military intervention in Syria throughout the 17-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. They have vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions backed by Western and Arab states and designed to put pressure on Damascus to end the violence.

    According to the United Nations, more than 18,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which is now affecting neighboring Lebanon and Turkey.