Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged world powers to exercise restraint concerning Syria as U.S. President Barack Obama mulls a possible military response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.
Putin said Saturday that any foreign military intervention in Syria would be “utter nonsense” because Syrian government forces are “advancing” against rebels.
He also urged the U.S. to allow the U.N. chemical weapons team that wrapped up its work in Damascus and left Syria on Saturday to present its findings.
“As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who state that the government forces have used weapons of mass destruction, in this case used chemical weapons, and say that they have evidence – let them present them to the U.N. inspectors and the U.N. Security Council,” he said.
The U.N. inspectors collected samples from the sites of the alleged poison gas attacks in Damascus suburbs. The group will report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. intelligence community had “high confidence” in a report indicating the Syrian government carried out a poison gas attack last week.
Kerry said the evidence, presented in a declassified version of a report, shows more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children.
President Obama has been holding meetings with national security advisors, Congress and allies. He has said he is considering a “limited, narrow” response.