UNSC session on Syria ends in total failure


Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the UN over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at President Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to the Summit of the Americas in Peru's Lima, citing the Syrian developments and on Tuesday conferred with National Security Adviser John Bolton and defence officials. Britain also scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting.

The Syrian and Russian moves to involve the OPCW came hours after Trump described Saturday's attack in Douma as "atrocious" and warned of "some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours".

State news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday quoted Andrei Krasov, deputy chairman of the State Duma's defense committee, as saying that Russian Federation will treat a US airstrike on Syria "not just as an act of aggression but a war crime of the Western coalition".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. For its part, Russian Federation presented a different draft resolution that called for an independent and transparent investigation, but it was not approved by the Council either.

Twelve of the 15 council members backed the US-drafted measure, including the United Kingdom and France.

Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other's motions to set up an worldwide investigation into chemical weapons use.

Tass in a news story out of the northern Syria city of Homs quoted lawmaker Dmitry Sablin refuting reports that Assad may have fled Syria. Last Saturday a chemical attack was reported to have taken place in Douma, where the rebel group Jaish al-Islam controls territory.

"The intelligence provided certainly paints a different picture", Sanders said.

Some diplomats said there were several arguments to justify bombing Syria over the suspected chemical weapons attack.

In September 2014, the United States defended the start of its military action against Islamic State militants in Syria under Article 51.

"The situation in the world is becoming more and more chaotic but all the same we hope that common sense will finally prevail and worldwide relations will take a constructive path", he said.

Assad's Damascus regime, which has long accused Washington of supporting its armed opponents in the country's bloody seven-year-old civil war, hit back at Trump's "reckless escalation".

Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons in a Russian-brokered deal in 2013, after hundreds of people were killed in a poison gas attack on rebel-held Damascus suburbs.

Russia's second resolution, based on an earlier draft by Sweden, voices support for the new OPCW probe into the Douma incident.

Later, Nebenzia, addressing Haley directly, said, "I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you are now developing for Syria".

He said the draft would have been an attempt to recreate the Joint Investigative Mechanism whose mandate had not been renewed in late 2017 which had become a puppet of anti-Damascus forces and shamed itself by rendering a guilty verdict against a sovereign State with no evidence.