Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russia likely to call United Nations meeting over Syria attack - Russian lawmaker

Russia likely to call United Nations meeting over Syria attack - Russian lawmaker

The combined forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

The Pentagon claims the overnight strikes "significantly crippled Assad's ability to produce chemical weapons".

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN meeting in NY that the USA and its allies struck without waiting for an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, branding the attack "hooliganism".

The UN Security Council has failed to adopt Russia's draft resolution condemning the recent joint airstrikes by the US, Britain and France on Syria, which came following an alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

Pentagon officials said the missiles first struck a scientific research centre near Damascus that develops, produces and tests chemical and biological weapons.

Still, the strikes Friday risk drawing the US deeper into the Syrian conflict, and could further heighten tensions between the USA and Russian Federation, which threatened earlier in the week to shoot down any USA missiles launched at the Syrian government. President Vladimir Putin called the strikes an "act of aggression" that was "destructive for the entire system of worldwide relations", according to a statement on the Kremlin's website.

That appeared to contradict Trump's own pledge that the United States, France and Britain would sustain the military campaign until Assad stops using prohibited chemical agents.

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Syria and Russian Federation have both denied using chemical weapons and said the claims were fabrications used to justify Western military action.

- American Forces deployed B-1B Lancer bombers for last night's strike and used double the number of weapons than in a 2017 missile strike responding to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.

In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations had "marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality".

Syria has denied carrying out the chemical attack and warned that Western military strikes would risk starting a war. He also called out Iran and Russian Federation.

Prime Minister May defended the strikes as "right and legal", highlighting that the objective had been "to alleviate further humanitarian suffering".

Trump warned Assad that the USA was prepared to "sustain" its strikes on the Syrian government, but also said that "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

"They will not benefit [from the attack] as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits".

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