'Red line' crossed in Syria, Italy says

Sept. 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM
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ROME, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi called on his European counterparts to address the crisis in Syria, saying the "red line has already been crossed."

U.S. President Barack Obama last month warned the Syrian government against using its chemical weapons arsenal. Doing so, the president said, would be "a red line" that would change the "calculus" about the possibility of military intervention in Syria.

Anonymous U.S. and Middle Eastern officials told The Washington Post this week that Damascus dispersed chemical weapons and precursor components out of fear it may not be able to control the cache in the face of a complete breakdown of government control in the civil war.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said the escalating level of violence in Syria suggests the crisis has taken a turn for the worse.

The red line has already been crossed," he said in a statement. "We need to concentrate in the European Union on stopping these terrible massacres, which have reached an unspeakable peak of violence and that strongly threaten the stability of neighboring countries"

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a watchdog group with headquarters in London, reported residents uncovered 45 bodies that bear the hallmarks of a mass execution from two areas in Damascus.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week reminded members of the General Assembly of their responsibility to act when leaders fail to respect their international obligations to protect their citizens.

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