Military action not the best option on Syria, says White House

Military action not the best option on Syria, says White House

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Military action not the best option on Syria, says White House

Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad wave a Syrian flag with Assad's flag on it during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 9, 2013 urging US not to attack Syria. AFP Photo

Military action is not the best the option to prevent Syria’s government from deploying chemical weapons, White House Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said Sept. 12 during a press conference.

“The first is that the best thing for regional security long-term is not just to take military action to deter [President Bashar] al-Assad from using these weapons, but actually to destroy them, which is what would be best for regional security so they actually can’t be used in the future,” Harf told reporters.

Noting that the U.S. government was in constant contact with Turkish officials over the situation, Harf said that despite the unfavorable opinion on the military action option, it still “remains on the table.”

“We’re going to be talking over the next few days to see if this is actually a real and credible way forward, but we are also clear-eyed about the difficulties here. We’ll continue working with our allies in the region, like Turkey, on this going forward, because they clearly have a lot at stake here as well,” Harf said.

The deputy spokesperson was also asked about Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “cosmetic move” remark regarding the chemical weapons deal offered to al-Assad, which Harf responded that she had no “characterization” on Ankara’s reaction.

“I would say that our objective – one of our objectives for these talks is to assess exactly the viability, right, of this proposal, because we believe it has to be credible. We believe that there has to be a way forward to actually identify, verify, and destroy this stockpile – that it cannot, in fact, be cosmetic,” Harf told reporters.

Harf further said the destruction of chemical weapons would not end the conflict, echoing previous statements from Ankara.

“So we would agree that destroying the chemical weapons would be a very good thing for regional security and for the Syrian people, but that there needs to be a political solution to actually end the entire conflict writ large,” Harf said.