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Syria threatens 'regional war' if attacked; McCain backs Obama

Syria threatens
Highlights

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that any military attack against his embattled regime would lead to a regional war, as US President Barack...

  • Probe-related samples shipped from Hague to labs: UN
  • Israel tests missile in Mediterranean Sea
  • Russia detects two missile launches in Mediterranean
  • UN says Syrian refugees cross 2 million mark

Cairo (PTI): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that any military attack against his embattled regime would lead to a regional war, as US President Barack Obama won backing from two hawkish senators for his bid to get a Congressional nod for a strike against Syria.

"Chaos and extremism will spread" if the US and its Western allies decide to attack Syria, Assad said, adding "everyone will lose control of the situation once the powder keg explodes". "The risk of a regional war exists," he said in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro. Assad's remarks came as Washington and Paris are pushing for a military attack against Syria over the country's alleged use of poison gas against civilians, including an August 21 attack near Damascus the US says killed over 1,400 people.

Meanwhile in Washington, hawkish senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham after holding talks with Obama said that they favoured passing a resolution to authorise for a military action against Syria. "A vote against this would be catastrophic in its consequences, not only as far as this issue is concerned, but in the future," Republican Senator McCain told reporters.

Samples collected by UN inspectors from the site of an alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria have been shipped from The Hague in the Netherlands to designated laboratories, a UN spokesman said.

"The samples were shipped this afternoon (Monday) from The Hague and will reach their destination within hours," Xinhua quoted UN spokesman Martin Nesirky as saying. "The designated laboratories are prepared to begin the analyses immediately after receipt of samples." Israel said it had carried out a missile test in the Mediterranean Sea. The Defense Ministry said that a single missile was fired. It had no other details.

Russia announced that its missile early warning system had detected the launch of two missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea fired towards the Sea's eastern coastline. The launches took place at 10:16 am Moscow time and were detected by the early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia, the defence ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

The United Nations refugee agency says the number of refugees fleeing Syria's violence has surpassed the 2 million mark, another tragic sign of a civil war that shows no sign of letting up. Antonio Guterres, the head of the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says Syria is hemorrhaging an average of almost 5,000 citizens a day across its borders, many of them with little more than the clothes they are wearing.

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