Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russia: Syria chemical attack staged by foreign agents

Russia: Syria chemical attack staged by foreign agents

For a week following the April 7 chemical attack in Douma (a suburb or Damascus, Syria), Russia was high-strung with anxiety about the United States' forthcoming punishment of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

USA officials said the precision strikes hit a scientific research center near Damascus, a storage facility and command post also near the capital and a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs.

"Our warnings have been left unheard", he said.

Mr Taylor, who is in the United States meeting government officials to discuss cyber security, said it was crucial Canberra worked with Washington to build defences against attacks.

Mr Lavrov noted that Russian and United States militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it was not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions.

The strikes have come after a week-long global push to punish the Assad regime after images and videos emerged on April 7 suggesting civilians - including children - had suffered a chemical attack in Douma. After months of criticism that Trump was being soft on Putin, the US president pulled no punches with a Tweet on Sunday: "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad".

The UN Security Council is now holding an emergency session on Syria at Russia's request on Friday.

A first team of experts from global watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has arrived in Syria, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

But relations have instead soured over mounting evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Russia's alleged poisoning of a former double agent in Britain and Putin's support of Assad's government in Syria.

The vote came at the end of an emergency meeting of the council called by Moscow, which saw Russian Federation and its supporters clashing with the USA and its allies over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

Russian leader warns more Syria strikes would bring global chaos
Russian Federation has used its veto 12 times at the Security Council to block action targeting its Syrian ally. Shouts of "Allah, Syria, and only Bashar", a reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad , rang out.

For the most part, the disinformation circulating in pro-Trump circles falls into two categories: 1) conspiracy theories alleging that the chemical attack that killed an estimated 70 Syrian civilians last weekend is either a false flag or a hoax, and 2) fear-appeals that discourage the USA from taking action in Syria by warning that punishing the Assad regime risks starting a war with Russian Federation.

The Russian defense ministry and the Kremlin had yet to make any comment on the strikes.

"For this reason, we can't rule out the possibility Russian Federation may intend to use these set of compromises for future offensive cyber operations as well", Joyce said.

What has Trump said about the attack?

Haley raised the prospect of still more sanctions on Russian Federation, saying on CBS's Face the Nation that a fresh round of penalties would "go directly to any sorts of companies that were dealing with equipment" related to Assad and his chemical weapons.

Guterres also said that Syrians have suffered from random attacks, displacement, torture and relentless bombing for over seven years and that the world is watching.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma's defense committee, said Trump "can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time - because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union".

Since 2015 France has carried out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria as part of allied forces linked to the US -led coalition, conducting about 5 percent of total coalition air missions.

Despite the Kremlin's stern words, few expect Russian Federation to seek confrontation in Syria.

Trump repeatedly accused China of currency manipulation during his campaign for president and included Russian Federation in his claim in his tweet.

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