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Obama warns Syria not to cross ‘red line’

Washington, Aug 21 (): US President Barack Obama said on Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should regard the US warnings to neither use nor move chemical or biological weapons, in case he risk crossing a “red line” and provoke a US military response.

He said he would alter his thinking on intervention in the crisis. He had “at this point not ordered military engagement”.

But he added there would be huge concerns if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. Obama told reporters at the White House we cannot have circumstances where biological or chemical weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

Obama’s remarks showed his stance on the matter. His warning came on Monday as Muslims in Syria celebrated the second of three days of feasting to honour the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the holiday’s message of amity and tolerance contrasted sharply with reality.

Syrian government forces heavily shelled the cities of Daraa, Aleppo and a suburb of Damascus on the second day of Ramadan holiday Monday, killing nearly 30 people, rights groups and activists said.

Syria has the world’s fourth-largest stockpile of chemical weapons. The UN says more than 18,000 people have been killed in the conflict, 170,000 have fled Syria and 2.5 million need aid within the country.

Earlier on Monday, the UN’s new envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi told that he was “not in a position to say yet” whether President Assad should go, but was “committed to finding a solution”.

On Monday, he told that he was not ready to say whether President Assad should step down despite widespread international condemnation of his government’s crackdown on dissent since protests erupted in March 2011.

Mr Brahimi stated that, “He was committed to find a solution full stop. I am a mediator. I haven’t joined any Syrian party. I am a mediator and a mediator has to speak to anybody and everybody without influence or interest,” he added. “Then I’ll make up my mind about what to say and what to do.”