Following reports of a chemical attack that occurred last week in Syria, the price of crude oil has jumped to $107 a barrel in trading on Monday over fresh concerns about the possibility of a western led military response after four U.S. Navy Destroyers were reported to be pre-positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea during the week-end.
Hundreds of Syrians were killed when the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad reportedly hit the rebel held area of Ghouta in eastern Damascus with rockets spraying poisoned gas.
International aid group Doctors Without Borders recently claimed that according to their medical reports across the region, “355 people had died from symptoms consistent with being exposed to a neurotoxic agent” while thousands of other Syrians were injured.
U.N inspectors arrived in Damascus on Monday to inspect a known site where poison gas killed hundreds in the Ghouta area.
President Obama discussed the Syrian situation over the week-end with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.
According to the New York Times, a White House source said that President Obama and French President Francois Hollande had expressed “grave concern” about the reported Syrian chemical attack and “discussed possible responses by the international community.”
On Sunday a senior Obama administration official said that there was “very little doubt” that President Al-Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week.
President Obama is facing increasing pressure to display more resolve and take a firmer stand as the Syrian civil war takes a disturbing turn for the worse and presents new challenges for the international community.
The Syrian government recently confirmed that their forces were involved in a military offensive in the Ghouta area but denied using any chemical weapons and blamed rebel fighters for the chemical attack.
“We have never used chemical weapons in any shape or form” Syria’s Information Minister Omran Zoabi said.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius rebuffed the official response from the Syrian government.
“All the information we have is converging to indicate there was a chemical massacre in Syria, near Damascus, and that Bashar Assad’s regime was behind it,” Fabius told reporters.
Russian government officials who are loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, said it would be a “tragic mistake” to jump to conclusions over who was responsible for the chemical attacks.
In neighboring Turkey, Syrian rebel commander Salim Idris denied reports that government opposition rebel fighters had used chemical weapons and told reporters that “the regime is lying.”
Since March 2011, Syria has faced a wide scale civil war in the wake of uprisings inspired from the Arab Spring that are directed against the al-Assad regime.