Monday, 24 September, 2018


Syria celebrates over its claim it downed British, French, US missiles

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walks with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl during their meeting in Moscow Foreign Ministers of Russia Austria Hold Press Conference AFP 2018 Yuri KADOBNOV
Bennie Garza | 17 April, 2018, 14:23

If there is a Russian, Syrian or Iranian response, it is likely to be indirect and asymmetrical, such as targeting or undermining the United States presence in Syria or retaliating against its allies.

"It is reasonable to expect that Russian Federation will limit the ability of Israel to exercise a similar attack in the future", Etzion said, referring to the T-4 strike. "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

The US envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth D. Ward, said he was concerned that Russian Federation may have interfered with the site of the Douma attack.

"We are concerned they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission", said ambassador Ken Ward.

As well as facing MPs' questions, she will also take the unusual step of calling an urgent debate - although this is expected to fall far short of an explicit vote on the military action demanded by some in the Commons.

Her comments follow allegations by the head of an global chemical weapons watchdog on Monday that Syrian and Russian officials cited "pending security issues" to keep independent inspectors from reaching the site of the suspected April 7 chemical attack.

"Ultimately, what Trump is doing with these deterrence exercises is influencing a very narrow bandwidth within the Syrian civil war, which is the use of chemical weapons", he said, pointing out chemical weapons attacks have killed an estimated 1,900 people in a war that has claimed half a million lives.

Theresa May is to face MPs' questions about her decision to authorise air strikes against the Syrian government.

"The goal of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", US President Donald Trump said in a televised address.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, and in a joint statement released by the Kremlin they called the missile strike an "illegal action", that "seriously damages the prospects for a political settlement in Syria".

Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that is such actions taken contrary to the UN Charter continue, this will certainly result in chaos in the worldwide relations.

Mrs May defended her decision during the 165-minute session, stressing Russian Federation should not be able to have an effective veto over United Kingdom foreign policy by consistently blocking action against the Syrian regime at the UN Security Council.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told a meeting of the group's executive council in the Hague on Monday that his team has not yet deployed to Douma two days after arriving in Syria.

Following weekend missile strikes on Syria by the US, France and Britain, Russia traded accusations with Western nations yesterday, dismissing as "a blatant lie" accusations that Moscow was hindering the investigation in Douma.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday the United States would announce new economic sanctions aimed at companies dealing with equipment related to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

"If you look at what Russian Federation is doing, they continue to be involved with all the wrong actors, whether their involvement in Ukraine, whether you look at how they are supporting Venezuela, whether you look in Syria and their way of propping up Assad and working with Iran, that continues to be a problem", Haley said on Fox News Sunday.

"The facts are there, and they defy the most obscene lies and the most absurd denials", he said. I think that's the right approach.

It is unclear if the tripartite military action will have the desired effect of halting chemical weapons attacks.

"The US mission has not changed".

"The US mission has not changed - the president has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

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