Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Russia says has 'proof' UK was behind alleged Syria chemical attack

Russia says has 'proof' UK was behind alleged Syria chemical attack

This was playing with fire after Russia - Syria's strongest ally - had warned that a missile attack would be met with force by Moscow, raising fears of a straight fight between the United States and Russia.

In the immediate aftermath of the poisoning by nerve agent of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, last month, for which Britain and its allies blamed Russia, U.S. President Donald Trump remained conspicuously quiet.

Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other's motions to set up an global investigation into chemical weapons use.

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons.

The battle for influence between Washington and Moscow is now being played out in the United Nations, where both powers have proposed resolutions to investigate the alleged attack. Moscow on Friday accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

"We expect the mission to go without any delay to Douma where Russian specialists who examined this place have not found any confirmations of the use of chemical weapons", he said.

"Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation". An initial team of inspectors had only arrived in Syria on Friday.

Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged after the alleged attack, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean. But on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

"Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legitimate government that has been fighting worldwide terrorism for several years on its territory", she said.

They honked auto horns, flashed victory signs and waved Syrian flags in support of the Assad regime.

Trump's tweets were more belligerent - he told Russia "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" - and declared that United States relations with Russia have plunged to a historic low.

"Good souls will not be humiliated", the Syrian regime tweeted after the air strikes began.

Chemical arms watchdog confirms United Kingdom findings on Russian-made nerve agent
Salisbury District Hospital said Sergei Skripal was still in the hospital but showing progress. Both sides have expelled each other's diplomats.

The American president also criticized Russian Federation for its support of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, saying "you shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!'"

Turkey, on Syria's northern border, called the airstrikes "an appropriate response" to a recent chemical attack in Syria.

U.S. officials have refused to rule out direct military engagement with Russian Federation, with the White House saying "all options are on the table".

"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

The United States didn't waste any time in disputing Russia's accusations.

Assad, who is supported by Iranian-back fighters as well as the Russian air force, has cemented his control over most of the western, more heavily populated, part of the country.

Anti-aircraft fire on the outskirts of Damascus after Western strikes reportedly hit Syrian military bases and chemical research centres in and around the capital.

"A perfectly executed strike", Trump tweeted after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles almost unopposed by Syrian air defences. "The suffering it causes is horrendous", Guterres said.

In a nationwide address on Friday night, Trump announced the US, along with the United Kingdom and France, would launch "precision airstrikes" in Syria after President Bashar Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians in the country's ongoing civil war.

The one-off missile strike in April 2017 targeted the airfield from which the Syrian aircraft had launched their gas attack.

The statement also condemned the air strikes on Syria where its armed forces are backing regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

But the Syria conflict is a complex web of overlapping wars which have drawn in several world powers, and the risk of miscalculation is as high as Trump's Twitter rhetoric is provocative.

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