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Russia, US headed for clash at UN over Syria gas attacks probe

Russia, US headed for clash at UN over Syria gas attacks probe

Russian Federation on Tuesday vetoed a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have created a new inquiry to ascertain blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Six Council members - Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation voted in favour of the draft while seven against (France, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) and two abstentions (Cote d'Ivoire and Kuwait).

Russian Federation however, vetoed the resolution, the 12th such time Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that adopting the U.S. -drafted resolution was the least that member nations could do.

"The US resolution is pretty obviously a bait for the Russians, who will have no choice but to veto it", said Richard Gowan, a United Nations expert from the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Retired Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky is the former chief of the Russian Defense Ministry's worldwide department.

In a video issued by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Ambassador John Huntsman said the United States had communicated with Russia "to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties".

Syrian war monitors say government forces and their allies are on alert and taking precautionary measures at military bases and posts across the country amid fears of a military attack by the United States. TASS news agency quoted him as saying he believed common sense would prevail.

Vladimir Putin is standing firm against the United States and its allies, as Donald Trump threatens military action against those responsible.

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Pinheiro's team, set up in August 2011, has have never been allowed into Syria.

A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria's political and military support from Russian Federation and Iran.

The statement was the latest in a war of words raging between Washington and Moscow since Saturday's suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town Douma, just outside Damascus, which killed more than 40 people according to activists and first responders.

Despite the worldwide revulsion over chemical weapons attacks, the death toll from such incidents in Syria is only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians killed since the war began in 2011.

"Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area", it said. Six of those resolutions would have condemned the regime for chemical weapons attacks.

USA representative to UN Nikki Haley said the response was "justified and proportionate".

The chemical attack: Dozens of people were reportedly killed and many more injured in a suspected chemical weapons attack in the city of Dhouma last week.

Russian ambassador Nebenzia has already said, however, that it contains "some unacceptable elements", but it is unclear if they were willing to negotiate on it. It blamed Islamic State militants for mustard gas use.


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