Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Russia, Syria may have tampered with Douma proof

Russia's US ambassador warns of consequences for Syria strikes Russia says chemical attack on Syria waged with UK insistence
Kenny Thornton | 17 April, 2018, 05:13

The Kremlin said both Putin and Macron lauded the upcoming visit of the global chemical watchdog's fact-finding mission to Syria and pledged to join efforts to provide necessary assistance to that mission. Britain believes "that is wholly within the principles and practices of the United Nations", she said. "The United States of America will not allow the Assad regime to continue using chemical weapons".

Zakharova suggested that Western media bore some responsibility for the strikes, claiming the White House cited "multiple media sources" on the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.

USA allies have offered strong words of support for Washington but no clear military plans have yet emerged.

Chemical weapons attacks are suspected to have taken place in Syria before. The statement said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning.

The group was the last in the erstwhile besieged Ghouta enclave to resist the exit proposed by Russian Federation but an alleged chemical attack by the regime on April 7 appeared to break their will. He says Moscow has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication".

Although he didn't name the country the agents come from, the top Kremlin diplomat could be hinting at the United States, Britain or France.

Last month, Britain blamed Russian Federation for a nerve agent attack on an ex-spy and his daughter, accusations Russian Federation has vehemently denied. The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation.

Russian Federation has warned the West against attacking Assad, who is also supported by Iran, and says there is no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus which had been held by opposition until this month. Putin and Macron instructed their foreign and defense ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

The U.N. chief told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday called by Russian Federation that the highly volatile situation risks "escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications".

The US-led strikes were the biggest worldwide attack on President Bashar Al Assad's regime since the start of Syria's seven-year war.

Only Syrian air defense systems had responded to the strikes, USA officials confirmed.

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As we approach and then go into the weekend, big changes will be coming with the approach of a strong upper-level storm system. A cold front may sweep through on Friday or Friday night which could generate a few showers at that time.

But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis struck a cautious note, telling lawmakers that the need to "stop the murder of innocent people" had to be weighed up against the risk of things "escalating out of control".

"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

A team with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Damascus on Saturday (local time) at the invitation of the government to investigate the alleged chemical attack, which prompted US-led strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities over the weekend.

The suspicions of tampering heightened concerns that the truth about the April 7 attack may never be known. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria, saying any such "adventures" in Syria would increase flows of refugees into Europe.

"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience", Lavrov said.

The news caused the biggest daily stop in Russian equity ETFs in several years, while Russia's RTS index suffered an 11% fall in one day following the news, according to Bloomberg.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday he has proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was behind chlorine attacks in recent days. The war and politics of Syria are broadly going its way.

Haley spoke directly after Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, who charged that the Saturday attack on Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria, was faked by foreign intelligence services.

Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack.

Russian Federation and its ally Syria called the attack fabricated and said no evidence of chemical weapons use exists in Douma.

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