UK's Cameron: Syria will use chemical weapons again without U.S. strike

LONDON Wed Sep 4, 2013 8:01am EDT

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions at parliament in London September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions at parliament in London September 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday he believed the Syrian government would use chemical weapons against its own people again if the United States stepped back from taking military action against it.

When asked by an opposition Labour party lawmaker whether he would push for a ceasefire in Syria rather than a "bombing raid", Cameron told parliament that U.S. President Barack Obama had issued a clear warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons and was right to stick to it.

"I would just ask her to put herself for a moment in the shoes of the president of the United States," Cameron told the lawmaker during his weekly question and answer session in parliament.

"He set a very clear red line, that if there was large-scale chemical weapons use something had to happen. To ask the president of the United States, having set that red line, having made that warning, to step away from it I think that would be a very perilous suggestion to make because in response I think you would see more chemical weapons attacks from the regime."

Cameron repeated that Britain would take no part in any military action against Syria after he lost what turned out to be a vital parliamentary vote on the issue last week, but said the world still needed to take a tough line on Assad's "revolting" use of chemical weapons.

(Reporting By Andrew Osborn; Editing by Stephen Addison)

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