Chemical probe to begin in Syria after Western strikes

Lester Mason
April 16, 2018

"There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far thank heavens the Assad regime [has] not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack". "I am convinced that other groups will join the group of countries having a responsible attitude toward global law", Ryabkov said.And that group of healthy forces, I am convinced, will give a more and more resolute political rebuff to such attempts on the basis of worldwide relations", he said when asked what Russia's reaction will be if more attacks on Syria follow.

The U.S., United Kingdom and France jointly launched strikes targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons warehouse and a command center linked to chemical weapons located west of Homs, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said at a joint news conference with American Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

They have been tasked with investigating the site of the alleged April 7 chemical attack in the town of Douma, in the formerly rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which Western powers said involved chlorine and sarin, and killed dozens.

The United States, Britain and France have accused the Assad government of using chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb on April 7th. The Opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the US military had kept its strikes limited because it knew a wider attack would spark retaliation from Damascus and its allies and inflame the region. They said the only forces with military aircraft such as helicopters in Syria belong to Assad's government.

The US President has declared the US, UK and French strikes on Syria a success, as Russian Federation has described them unlawful.

"After examining the videos and images of victims published online, they (intelligence services) were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated", the report said.

The chairman of the USA joint chiefs of staff, Gen Joseph Dunford, said Him Shinshar was "the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment".

Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news that he had convinced Trump to focus on the chemical weapons sites. It gave no other details on the intelligence.

The inspectors were due to attempt to visit the Douma site.

Chemical weapons inspectors have not yet been allowed access to Syria's Douma, UK officials said as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) met to discuss the "alleged use of chemical weapons" in Syria.

An worldwide fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria and expected to visit Douma. It is to determine whether chemical weapons were used, but will not assign blame.

The scientific research facility in Barzeh, north of Damascus, was purported to be the centre of Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons programme.

Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, also an Assad ally, that any new Western strikes in Syria would provoke "chaos in worldwide relations", a Kremlin statement said.

But the joint U.N. -OPCW mechanism ended in November 2017 after Russian Federation repeatedly blocked attempts at renewing it.

About 45 human rights and aid groups urged U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday to appoint a team of independent investigators to determine blame for toxic gas attacks in Syria.

"Russia confirms its commitment to ensure [safety] and security of the mission and will not interfere in its work", the Russian embassy in the Netherlands said on Monday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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