gpolit.com
gpolit.com April 21, 2018


Syria tensions can lead to 'full-blown military escalation', warns United Nations chief

14 April 2018, 01:48 | Darrell Baldwin

UN chief Antonio Guterres | File AP

UN chief Antonio Guterres | File AP

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres voiced "regret" Wednesday that the Security Council had failed to agree on the proper recourse to a suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of people.

Konashenkov released statements by medics from Douma's hospital, who said a group of people toting video cameras entered the hospital, shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons, dousing them with water and causing panic.

And US ambassador Nikki Haley, while allowing that Washington is still weighing its options and pursuing its own investigation, warned her colleagues, "At one point, you have to do something".

On Monday, US President Donald Trump threatened to take military action against Syrian authorities over the alleged use of chemical agents in the town of Douma near Damascus.

Erdogan says: "What we insisted on tenaciously was the fact that is not right for tensions to heat up; we made requests concerning the restitution of peace and the end of the tragedy that is going on".

But the growing fears of escalation appear to have given western leaders food for thought.

It came after a previous tweet in which he warned Russian Federation to "get ready" because U.S. missiles "will be coming".

France's President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, on Friday called for stepped-up talks with Moscow and spoke to President Vladimir Putin by phone.

Noting that inspectors from the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were due to visit the site shortly, it underlined the Damascus government's commitment that they will have full access and freedom of movement.

Russian officials have said USA and Russian military staffs remain in contact regarding Syria, even as Russian media have carried stories in recent days about the potential outbreak of "World War III" as a outcome of a US airstrike against Assad. On April 10, Russian Federation again vetoed a resolution that would have established a United Nations mechanism to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks in Syria.

After refusing to accept findings on Syrian government responsibility for last year's attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun, Russia used its Security Council veto to block the UN from maintaining a UN-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons joint investigative mechanism working independently and impartially to uncover the perpetrators for such attacks.

Syria and Russia have denied using poisonous gas in Douma on April 7, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow had "irrefutable" evidence that the attack in Douma was a "staged event".

Since last weekend, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

Diplomats have expressed concern that the experts could be used as hostages or human shields.

United States officials have refused to rule out direct military engagement with Russian Federation.



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