France: Response to Syrian chemical weapons use would be massive

Western powers are prepared to respond harshly if the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad deploys biological or nuclear weapons during its civil war, according to France's foreign minister.

Laurent Fabius said that France was involved in discussions about the situation with the United States and the United Kingdom, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

"We are discussing this notably with our American and English partners," Fabius said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. "Our response...would be massive and blistering."

President Barack Obama referred to the use of chemical or biological weapons by the Assad regime as crossing a red line.

"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is (if) we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said, according to Reuters. "That would change my calculus. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people."

Fabius said that China and Russia likewise want to keep the country from using biological and chemical weapons, but the minister expressed frustration at the two countries in their continued support of Assad.

Damascus previously said that it could use biological or chemical weapons if it were attacked from the outside. The country is thought to have mustard gas and nerve agents in addition to scud missiles that could deliver the lethal chemicals, according to the Los Angeles Times.