French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé has stepped forth with a somewhat bold call for the use of military force against Syria. A BBC video shows the minister saying, “Either the mediation is working or it isn’t. And if it doesn’t work, we can’t continue being defied by the regime in power.”
Syria and leader Bashar al-Assad have nominally accepted a cease fire brokered by the joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. But Annan himself has denounced continued violence by state forces against civilians.
Juppé says he has been discussing with peers the use of force under the UN’s Chapter VII, which deals with “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Agression.”
The minister’s statement came just hours before a massive explosion killed as many as 70 people in the Syrian city of Hama, according to unconfirmed report from activists. State media refers to 16 fatal victims, and has called the house where the explosion took place a bomb factory used by “armed terrorist groups”.