The best way to ensure Syria doesn’t use chemical weapons against rebels is not military action, but offering Syria’s president a way out of the country – and persuading him to take it – a former NATO supreme commander says.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark told "CNN Newsroom" on Thursday that concerned nations could attack Syrian military targets, but such a move wouldn’t immediately halt every chemical weapons threat.
"You could take out the airfields if (the weapons) are uploaded … but nothing is going to be 100% effective," Clark said. "The most effective preventive weapon is to use this as greater leverage against the Russians and Chinese to cut all support for Bashar Assad, get him out of the country, get him into some kind of asylum situation somewhere, and sort this out."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is meeting Thursday with key players as part of a new U.S. diplomatic push on Syria, amid reports that the government of President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing to use chemical weapons.
Clinton is holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while in Dublin for an international security conference.
She also will meet with both Lavrov and the U.N. special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, later in the day, a senior State Department official said.
CNN reported Monday that Syrian forces battling rebels in fierce fighting had started combining chemicals that could be used to make deadly sarin gas for weapons. NBC reported Wednesday night that Syria is loading chemical weapons into bombs.
The German Cabinet has agreed to send Patriot missiles and up to 400 soldiers to Turkey to deter the Syrian civil war from spilling into the country.
The cabinet decision, made in a special session today, follows a move by NATO foreign ministers Tuesday to approve Turkey's request for such missiles.
Errant Syrian artillery shells struck the Turkish border town of Akcakale and killed five Turkish civilians in October.
Turkey asked NATO to deploy Patriot missiles along its border to bolster its air defenses against Syrian threats.
In addition to Germany, the United States and Netherlands - both of which have Patriot capabilities - have signaled they would be willing to contribute missiles.
“Any deployment will be defensive only. It will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation," the NATO statement said.
The decision was made as news surfaced about fears of Bashar al-Assad's government using chemical weapons.FULL STORY
The man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb-and-gun rampage in Norway last summer claimed as he went on trial for terrorism and murder Monday that self-defense justified his actions.
"I acknowledge the acts but do not plead guilty, and I claim I was doing it in self-defense," Anders Behring Breivik told a court in Oslo. The court recorded a plea of not guilty for him.
Prosecutors played a recording of a terrified girl phoning for help during the shooting spree that left 69 people dead, many of them teens and young adults. The audio was punctuated by constant firing in the background.
They also showed security camera video of the central Oslo bomb blast that killed eight people, images that participants in the trial watched with ashen faces.