Russia: Syria chemical attack 'fabrication' by foreign power

Erika Holt
April 14, 2018

Following an emergency UN Security Council meeting, Russia's ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia urged western allies not to take military action against Syria, and said he "cannot exclude" war between the United States and Russian Federation. "It's some of the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian Federation propaganda machine".

According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria.

Russia, Syria and its other main backer Iran have said reports of the Douma attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers and have accused the United States of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the Syrian government.

Macron said Thursday that France has proof the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and said France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted". He said, "I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in". The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based human rights organisation, say 354,000 people have died - including 106,000 civilians. He didn't elaborate or name the state.

U.S. President Trump met with military officials to discuss options for Syria.

The Russian diplomat warned that negative developments around Syria are "fraught with global consequences".

He said "the danger of escalation is higher than simply Syria".

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"They are crimes of a monster instead", Trump said referring to Assad and his suspected role in the chemical weapons attacks. Asked whether she could say that the United States has proof that Assad's regime was behind the strike, Nauert said: "Yes".

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Konashenkov said the suspected poison attack was staged April 7 to coincide with military action by Syrian government troops after the rebel group Jaish al-Islam shelled the capital of Damascus from April 3 to 6. "Russian Federation can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups".

"We hope that there will be no point of no return - that the U.S. and their allies will refrain from military action against a sovereign state", said Nebenzia said outside United Nations headquarters on Thursday. More likely, his war to grind down remaining opposition strongholds would be at least as bloody as the siege and bombardment of East Ghouta that culminated in the recent chemical attacks. When the Iraq forces, which had been decimated by ISIS, was too paralysed, and perhaps, frightened to fight, and Turkey tucked itself into its own side of the borders, supporting pockets of Syrian rebels, it was the small but courageous Kurdish fighters, especially the Peshmerga (those who face death) that filed out to take on the far superior ISIS forces.

The Syrian Civil War is supposed to have been a civil protest against the Assad government; overnight, it became a war in which sophisticated arms are used, giving the impression that it was not spontaneous after all.

The attack has drawn worldwide outrage and prompted the United States and its allies to consider a military strike on Syria, something Moscow has strongly warned against. "I believe it's important to use Arab forces", he said.

After the council failed this week during three votes to agree on a response to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Guterres on Wednesday stressed "the need to avoid the situation spiralling out of control" in Syria.

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said in a statement to the official STA news agency that "due to the Syria crisis", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cancelled his planned visit to Slovenia on Friday and Saturday. Russian Federation said Thursday it has deployed military police in Douma and the town is now the under full control of the Syrian government. Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told NBC News on Thursday the administration has "enough proof" of the chemical attack but was still considering its response.

He pointed out that the Western countries "were not interested in the fate of the Syrian government's supporters who had been captured and held by militants in Eastern Ghouta".

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