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Syria crisis: United Nations chief says Cold War is back

Syria crisis: United Nations chief says Cold War is back

The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of punitive strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime on Saturday.

"Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism (for chemical weapons use in Syria) threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation", Guterres told the Security Council.

The US government's assertions come as it, along with the United Kingdom and France, continues to mull the scope and timing of a military attack on Syria, raising fears of a potential confrontation with Assad's key military backer, Russia.

Under a 2013 US-Russia deal that averted US-led strikes, Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which bans the use of the toxic gases in warfare. A large number of experts of the worldwide chemical watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will arrive in Beirut on Friday to later go to Damascus, a source in the United Nations regional office in the Lebanese capital said.

The president's National Security Council was scheduled to meet Thursday to "take forward the various options" for Trump, Mattis said.

France's Macron earlier called for stepped-up talks with Moscow, and spoke to President Vladimir Putin by phone.

"Attacking after such incidents amounts to unlawful reprisals, and unlawful reprisals in which people die belong in the same category of global crimes as the use of banned weapons".

With Russian military assistance, Assad launched a military offensive on Eastern Ghouta, which had been under rebel control since mid-2013.

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Russian Federation and Syria have said there was no evidence of a chemical weapons attack in Douma.

Since last weekend, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

(File pix) On Saturday, the United States, British and French forces hammered Syria with air strikes in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week, in the biggest intervention by Western powers in Syria's civil war.

The joint operation by the USA and its allies was in response to a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma last week.

Guterres urged the Security Council to "act responsibly in these unsafe circumstances", according to AFP.

A medical specialist from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Muhammad Adnan Tabazhu, claimed that the medics obtained no evidence of chemical weapons being used in Eastern Ghouta between 2012 and 2018 when he was working in the area.

COI investigators have never been granted access to Syria. "For eight long years the people of Syria have endured suffering upon suffering".


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