Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Syria calls USA threats to attack it 'reckless'

Syria calls USA threats to attack it 'reckless'

Trump threatened to take action within 48 hours, and speculated that Russian Federation or Iran could have been worked with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to launch the killer gas.

The suspected chemical weapons attack hit the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta region in the suburban area near Damascus late on Saturday, reportedly killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 1,000 others.

On Saturday more than 40 people died in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma in an alleged chemical attack, which left victims wheezing, with discolored skin and foaming at the mouth.

Syria and Russian Federation, the main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, have insisted no attack happened and that only the opposition groups they call "terrorists" possess chemical weapons.

The White House said Trump would remain in Washington to "oversee the American response to Syria".

Efforts to find a diplomatic solution at the UN Security Council on Tuesday failed, with Washington and Moscow opposing each other's rival motions to set up an global investigation into chemical weapons use.

Rival draft resolutions by both the U.S. and Russian Federation to set up a new expert body to probe chemical weapons attacks in Syria have failed to pass at the United Nations Security Council.

Several world leaders have denounced the attack and blamed the Syrian government.

US Vice-President Mike Pence will travel in President Trump's place for the Latin America trip, which begins in Peru for the Summit of the Americas.

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In the meantime, the Syrian government claims that on Monday, loud explosions were heard near the T-4 airfield, in what was called an alleged missile attack by the US government. Most commercial airlines already avoid Syria's north and northeast - where major battlefronts such as Aleppo and Deir Ezzor are located - due to the ongoing conflict, Flightradar24 said.

Now this latest attack seems to have put those US plans on hold. French president Emmanuel Macron called for a strong, joint response to the alleged chemical attack.

"There are multiple extremist groups, known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, including radar-guided surface-to-air missiles and man-portable air defense systems, which have the capability to threaten civil aircraft", the FAA said in a statement.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump complained the Obama administration talked too much about when and where it would attack the Islamic State in Iraq, ruining the element of surprise.

Mrs May and Mr Trump had condemned Mr Assad's "vicious disregard for human life" and "agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue", the White House said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has sent a fact-finding team to investigate the Douma site. Qatar hosts the US' main air operations centre for the Middle East.

A third resolution, also drafted by Russian Federation, backing the sending of investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog agency to the site of the suspected attack in Douma also failed to pass later on Tuesday.

"Ambassador Nebenzia accused the USA of "planting" a resolution" as a justification for military action. This is why Obama - smartly - spent 8 years avoiding confrontation with Russian Federation, including in Syria.

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