Syria warns any US military action would 'inflame Middle East'

Syria warns any US military action would 'inflame Middle East'
A member of the Free Syrian Army is seen in a damaged building in Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo August 24, 2013.

BEIRUT - Syria warned the United States against any military action over a suspected chemical weapons attack in its civil war, saying it would "create a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East".

President Bashar al-Assad's closest ally Iran also said Washington should not cross the "red line" on Syria, where doctors accused his forces of a poison gas attack that killed hundreds last week.

A team of United Nations inspectors are waiting in a hotel in Damascus a few miles from the site of the attack, but Syria suggested they would not be allowed to visit as it was not on a list agreed in July of alleged chemical attacks this year.

US President Barack Obama met his top military and national security advisers on Saturday to debate options. US naval forces have been repositioned in the Mediterranean to give Obama the option of an armed strike.

Syria said any military action would be "no picnic".

"US military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East," Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi was quoted by state news agency SANA as saying to Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV.

Obama has been reluctant to intervene in Syria's civil war, but reports of the killings near Damascus have put pressure on the White House to make good on the president's comment a year ago that chemical weapons would be a "red line" for the US.

Iran said any intervention by Washington would have "severe consequences", according to the Fars news agency.

"America knows the limitation of the red line of the Syrian front and any crossing of Syria's red line will have severe consequences for the White House," Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, said on Sunday according to Fars.

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