Monday, 24 September, 2018

Syria chemical attack: Investigators allowed to visit site

Angela Merkel supported yesterday's air strikes ANADOLU GETTYAngela Merkel supported yesterday's air strikes on Syia
Faye Gross | 19 April, 2018, 01:49

He said the prime minister had abandoned the convention under which her predecessors have sought the approval of parliament before every military action since the Iraq war in 2003.

Assad praised the Soviet-era air defense system that Syria had reportedly used to shoot down around 70 of the 100 missiles fired during the strikes, Russian news agencies said.

Witnesses and Western governments said helicopters dropped sarin and chlorine bombs that killed many children and women who were sheltering from the fighting between rebels and government troops.

"The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep".

Members of the organization's Fact Finding Mission are in Syria attempting to investigate the alleged chemical attack on Douma, but have still not visited the town 11 days after the incident.

Alexander Shulgin, the Russian envoy at the OPCW in The Hague, said allegations that Russia might destroy evidence reflected Washington's effort to justify Saturday's strikes.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied the accusation, telling BBC he can "guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later issued a statement saying the White House is "considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation and a decision will be made in the near future".

A Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters: "There is no USA military activity in that area at this time".

An Israeli military spokesman said: "We don't comment on such reports". The sanctions were created to ramp up pressure on Moscow over its support for the Syrian government in that country's years-long civil war.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since 2011 that has killed at least 350,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said he had not set a timeline for a pullout.

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The US said the strike had hit the "heart" of Assad's chemical weapons infrastructure, but admitted some residual capabilities remained.

The scene now has been cleaned up, and when the OPCW inspectors finally make it into Douma, Doane says they'll find that not only time has passed, but plenty of people, too. "Russia and Syria must cooperate".

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) had chose to carry out reconnaissance at two sites in the town of Douma before the inspectors would visit them. The Syrian Central Media said the missiles targeted Shayrat air base in Homs.

"Do we sit back, do we defend (human) rights by saying, 'Rights are for us, principles are for us, and realities are for others?' No, no!" the French leader said. This was at the very beginning after this information (of the attack) appeared.

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.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said teaming up with France and the U.S. to destroy suspected chemical weapons bases had risked making the situation in the war-torn country worse. The team arrived in Syria on Saturday.

An inspection by the team of experts can definitely prove whether a chemical weapon has been used, but not who used it. State aid trucks handed out bread, rice and pasta to people who had lived under siege for years.

"I have repeatedly expressed my deep disappointment that the Security Council failed to agree on a dedicated mechanism for effective accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria", he added.

Medical aid groups and the White Helmets rescue organisation have said such statements - already aired on state television in recent days - were made under duress.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is "futile" since Washington and its allies already identified who the "culprits" are, referencing the US-led attack on Syria.

At a meeting in Luxembourg, the 28 European Union foreign ministers endorsed the missile strikes and considered steps to deepen Assad's isolation.

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