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Syria attack: US, UK decide to wait till UN report

Syria attack: US, UK decide to wait till UN report
Highlights

The US and UK on Thursday appeared to have backed down from an immediate punitive military strike against Syria, even as embattled President Bashar...

  • Britain makes tactical retreat over Damascus
  • Iran says it will work with Russia to stop strike
  • Military ready to go to Syria if needed: France
  • Israel to respond with full force to any Syrian attack
  • UN inspectors to leave Syria by Saturday: Ban
  • Negotiations 'the only option' for Syria: Vatican

Cairo (PTI): The US and UK on Thursday appeared to have backed down from an immediate punitive military strike against Syria, even as embattled President Bashar al-Assad vowed that his country would emerge "victorious" in any confrontation with America and its allies.

A strike by Western forces had appeared imminent but US allies were increasingly reluctant to act before hearing the results of a UN probe into the alleged poisonous gas attacks in the war-torn country on August 21. President Barack Obama has said he had not yet decided whether to attack Syria in response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, but a strike still appeared likely as the US stopped seeking a UN mandate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron backed down and agreed to delay a military attack on Syria following a growing revolt over the UK's rushed response to the crisis. The Prime Minister has now said he will wait for a report by UN weapons inspectors before seeking the approval of MPs for "direct British involvement" in the Syrian intervention. UN chief Ban Ki-moon pleaded for more time for diplomacy and to allow UN investigators to complete their probe on suspected chemical weapons attacks. He said the investigators will leave Syria by Saturday morning.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country will press efforts to ward off military action by the US and its allies against the Tehran-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iranian state TV reported. The French military is ready to commit forces to an operation in Syria if President Francois Hollande decides to do so, the defense minister said. President Shimon Peres warned that Israel will respond with "full force" if it comes under attack from Syria in retaliation to possible Western military action against it.

"Israel is not and has not been involved in the civil war in Syria, but if they try to hurt us, we will respond with full force," Peres said at a special special meeting organised at the Jerusalem District Police headquarters.Amid speculation of an impending war in which Israel may come under attack from Syria and Shi'ite Lebanese faction Hezbullah from the north and Islamist Hamas from the south, anxious Israelis flocked gas mask distribution centres.

The Vatican said talks in Syria were "the only option" out of the conflict, following a meeting between Pope Francis and Jordan's King Abdullah II. The two "reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict," the Vatican said in a statement.

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