Inspectors to visit Syria over 'chemical attack'

Marco Green
April 11, 2018

Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the United Nations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at President Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

The occasion of that attack was of course the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the country's bloody, interminable civil war.

The United States, backed by Britain and France, has said it is ready to act with or without support from the United Nations, where the Security Council was to vote as early as Tuesday on rival U.S. and Russian proposals to probe chemical attacks in Syria.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday he is outraged by the reported attack, and that the use of chemical weapons would be a violation of worldwide law. It was not immediately clear whether the announcement by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would delay or avert us military action against Syria. The White House announced Tuesday that he would do so.

Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, accused Washington of deliberately stoking global tensions by threatening Russian Federation in a tone "beyond the threshold of what is acceptable, even during the Cold War".

Trump - who past year launched a missile strike on a Syrian air base after sarin was used in the town of Khan Sheikhun - warned after the latest accusations that there would be a "big price to pay".

Inspectors to visit Syria over 'chemical attack'
Inspectors to visit Syria over 'chemical attack'

The OPCW has said the team of experts will deploy to Syria shortly. Both Syria and its main backer, Russia, have denied responsibility and have claimed the reports were fabricated to justify a USA attack on Syria.

Moscow has cautioned the USA not to launch a military attack.

At the same time Russia's special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev reportedly visited Tehran in secret for discussions with the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

"This attack that took place in Douma is a barbaric attack". The Syrian foreign ministry announced through the state news agency on Tuesday that it had officially requested an OPCW probe.

When asked whether Britain would join the United States if Washington decided on further military action in Syria, May declined to answer the question directly but said: "We believe that those responsible should be held to account". He also reaffirmed his support for an OPCW investigation. Any plan by Washington and its allies to take military action was likely to be on hold until then, the source said. It is now operating off Lebanon alongside USA ships as part of France's military contingent fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. At least 40 people were killed and hundreds more were injured.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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