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

Western powers walk legal tightrope with Syria strikes

Western powers walk legal tightrope with Syria strikes

Asked about possible US strikes on Syria, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria".

In an analysis released Saturday, French intelligence services said "evidence collected" showed about 11 chemical attacks, mostly involving chlorine, since April 4, 2017, when sarin gas was used in Khan Sheikhoun.

The spokeswoman further stressed that Russian military personnel and doctors had visited Douma but found no traces of a chemical attack.

Analysts agreed that in striking Syria without U.N. authorization - impossible given Russia's repeated vetoes on the Security Council - the United States, Britain, France were relying instead on a nebulous concept of "legal morality".

The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, accused the United States and its allies of reckless Middle East warmongering by threatening Syria with military force. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova cannot even imagine that either Russian or American blood could be spilt in Syria, she said in an interview with Sky News on Thursday.

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The UN Security Council, tasked with maintaining worldwide peace and security, has been riven, with Moscow virulently denying the Douma attack took place, or postulating that it was carried out by rebels. "I just want to remind you one more time it's 2018, it's not the middle of the 20th century", she said, adding that in a time of instant communications there's no reason "why people who are in charge of our security and global peace can't talk". "Numerous, large-scale attacks on another country without Congressional authorisation are unconstitutional, and they push the United States closer to what could be an interminable, all-out conflict in Syria".

Russian Federation has been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2015 and became Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in the war against armed opposition groups.

"There's a tactical concern that we don't add to innocent civilian deaths and that we do everything humanly possible to avoid that". "Russia promises to shoot down all the missiles used in Syria". More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to strike Syria in response to an alleged gas attack in the Arab country. Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted a stark warning of a potential major confrontation.

"I think that this is the case which should be resolved through the communication, but not through force", she said.

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