UN council rejects Russia resolution on Syria

Hannah Rogers
April 14, 2018

Russia's United Nations ambassador warned that US-led strikes could lead to a confrontation between the world's two preeminent nuclear powers.

President Vladimir Putin later referred to this claim, saying on April 4 that Russian Federation had "irrefutable proof" that rebels were planning an attack with "poisonous substances".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Russia Friday that "there is no military solution to the conflict". The medics, however, said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning, according to the statements.

"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", it said. Putin and Macron instructed their foreign and defense ministers to maintain close contact to "de-escalate the situation", the Kremlin said.

A fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is expected to head to Douma, the site of the suspected attack.

"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria along the lines of the Libyan and Iraqi experience", Lavrov told a news conference, referring to past Western military interventions elsewhere in the region.

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East on Friday but there was no clear sign a USA -led attack was imminent.

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She added: "It's some of the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian Federation propaganda machine".

After a crunch meeting with national security advisors Thursday, the White House said it had not yet decided how to retaliate to last week's suspected chemical attack which the US, France and Britain blame on Bashar al-Assad's regime. The government's capture of Douma, the last town held by the rebels in eastern Ghouta, marked a major victory for Assad.

The Russian defence ministry said today that none of the Western strikes in Syria had hit areas covered by Russia's air defences around its air base and naval facility.

Since 2015 France has carried out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria as part of allied forces linked to the USA -led coalition, conducting about 5 percent of total coalition air missions.

A Downing Street spokesperson added: "They agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".

What is less clear is whether sarin - the agent used in the chemical attack last April that prompted United States missile strikes - or a similar agent was also used.

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