Assad cannot be part of Syria solution: German minister

Doris Richards
April 16, 2018

On a Sunday TV program, he said Western leaders have no plans for additional attacks, but that could change if there are new chemical attacks.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and France conducted air strikes against Syria on April 14 in response to a suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government that killed dozens of people last week.

In New Hampshire, Senator Maggie Hassan issued a statement which included, "It is critical that the President present the American people with a consistent and comprehensive strategy, for Syria that includes a path to a post-Assad political solution that addresses the continued support of Russian Federation and Iran for the brutal dictator".

Opposition parties say MPs should have been consulted before the United Kingdom joined the USA and France in bombing three Syrian sites, in response to a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma.

The military said there were three targets: the Barzah chemical weapons research and development site in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs and a chemical weapons "bunker" a few miles from the second target.

Germany's powerful Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the strikes "necessary and appropriate", but other European Union members have been keen to avoid any step that could lead to further escalation.

While the Russians continue to support these heinous war crimes, the Syrian regime continues to violate its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions. "This is not about trying to turn the tide of the conflict in Syria", he told the BBC, adding that Russian Federation was the only country able to pressure Assad to negotiate an end to the conflict.

United States' Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday the Trump administration will announce more sanctions against Russian Federation as soon as Monday.

"There will be a solution involving everyone who has influence on the region", he told reporters on arrival to a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels.

"Our warnings have been left unheard", Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a tweet on Saturday morning.

Afterwards, 18 European Union countries followed Britain's lead and expelled Russian diplomats from their territory, six took the more limited step of recalling their own ambassadors, and three did nothing.

The three allies circulated a joint draft resolution at the Security Council that also calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid, enforcing a ceasefire and demands that Syria engage in UN-led peace talks, according to the text obtained by AFP.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all parties in the Syria conflict to show restraint and avoid further military escalation.

But privately some European diplomats already acknowledge that the Assad regime's military campaign is likely to succeed and they should begin planning for the next stage.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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