Belgian Foreign Minister Warns Against Escalation Over Alleged Douma Attack

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on Friday called on nations considering a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria to settle the matter peacefully and prevent a military escalation in the war-torn country.
“We should wait. Of course, we should avoid a military escalation. The political solution is needed. We must exert pressure on the Syrian regime in order to return to the negotiating table and discuss the solution,” Reynders said, as quoted by the RTBF broadcaster.
According to RTBF, Reynders discussed the West’s possible military action against Syria with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
The situation in Syria significantly escalated over the last week because of an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, located in the embattled Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, reports of which first emerged on Saturday. The European Union and the United States have rushed to blame the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad for the incident, but Damascus has refuted the allegations.
US President Donald Trump, French leader Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May agreed on Tuesday that the international community needed to respond to the alleged chemical weapons attack.
On Wednesday, Trump said that Russia, which supports Assad, should “get ready,” since “nice” and “smart” missiles were due to strike Syria, but has made a step back the day after, saying that he had never specified the time missiles might be fired.
Moscow has called for a thorough investigation into the alleged attack to be conducted before conclusions are drawn. Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow had irrefutable evidence that the Douma incident was staged with the involvement of foreign security services.

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