Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has said Egypt will not take part in any attack targeting Syria, asserting that the country stands against foreign intervention there, state-run Middle East News Agency reported on Thursday.
His statement comes against an increasing threat of an imminent US-backed international military intervention in Syria that may be conducted outside the scope of a UN resolution, since Russia, a Syrian regime supporter, will block any such move.
The threat of intervention follows an attack that killed hundreds in the countryside near Damascus, possibly due to the use of chemical weapons. Details of the attack remain murky, but the US has suggested the Syrian government was behind it.
Fahmy said Egypt is against chemical warfare and demanded that those behind the attack be held accountable, but also said international intervention is only legitimate as self-defense.
He also condemned the Syrian authorities for crimes committed against their people, calling on the parties involved in the conflict to seek a political solution.
Some opposition groups in Egypt support the government’s stance. On his Facebook page, Mahmoud Badr, founder of the Tamarod group, wrote on Wednesday that the group supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army against American intervention. The group’s spokesperson, Hassan Shahin, called on the government to block any ships passing through the Suez Canal that are carrying weapons to be used in attacks on the Syrian regime.
Shahin told the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that Tamarod is looking into a campaign to boycott goods coming from America and other countries that will potentially attack Syria.
Tamarod mobilized mass campaigns on June 30 to oust President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood figure who had severed diplomatic relations with Syria during his short-lived rule and announced his support for the rebel groups there.
It is thought that Tamarod’s stance stems from a belief that the Syrian armed opposition is another face of the Islamist rule they stood to counter in Egypt.
During the 2003 US-led war on Iraq, Egypt offered both its air space and the Suez Canal for American weaponry. But a souring relationship with Washington since Morsi’s ouster, which brought Egypt staunch American criticism, may mean a different position on a potential intervention in Syria.