Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Chemical experts Syria mission in limbo

UN team fired on in Syria while visiting suspected chemical sites Chemical experts Syria mission in limbo
Isabel Fisher | 19 April, 2018, 02:13

Russian Federation has sought to absolve Assad of any guilt by blaming a rebel group, called the White Helmets, for carrying out the alleged chemical attack.

An official close to the Syrian Government said the United Nations security team had been met by protesters demonstrating against the US-led strikes. The team's arrival in Damascus was postponed on Saturday after the US, France and Britain launched more than 100 cruise missiles at targets inside Syria. The countries opposing the Russian stance like the U.S., U.K., and France said that allowing the Syrian government, whose collusion with Russia is well-known, to use these weapons is endangering global security.

Shayrat airbase was targeted previous year in a U.S. cruise missile attack in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 70 people, including children, on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

The Syrian Central Media said six missiles targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs on Tuesday, adding that Syrian air defenses shot down a lot of them.

Syria's United Nations ambassador said on Tuesday the fact-finding mission would begin its work in Douma on Wednesday if the United Nations security team deemed the situation there safe.

On April 7, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime allegedly dropped chemical weapons on the town of Douma, where rebels were suspected to be hiding out.

"It found the Syrian government responsible for chemical weapons attacks on four occasions and the Islamic State guilty of chemical weapons use in two instances".

Ahmet Uzumcu, Director-General of the group, hoped "all necessary arrangements will be made.to allow the team to deploy to Douma as soon as possible", he told an executive council meeting Monday.

"This is not an isolated incident-the Syrian regime has a clear history of using chemical weapons even after pledging that it had given up its chemical weapons program", the White House said in a statement.


Deputy Hezbollah leader Sheikh Naim Qassem told pro-Syrian government television channel al Maydeen he expected a reaction to the death of at least seven Iranian military personnel during a missile strike earlier this month on the T-4 airfield near Homs, which Iran blamed on Israel.

Early Tuesday, the government-run Central Military media reported a missile attack on the Shayrat air base in Homs province.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied that Russia interfered with any evidence.

The OPCW team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.

U.S. officials have raised concerns that Russian Federation, or the Syrian government, might have tampered with the site.

The West has accused Syria of failing to live up to its commitment to scrap its chemical weapons program, under a 2013 deal reached between the United States and Russian Federation.

Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret and current president of Rooftop Leadership, said in an interview Tuesday on CBSN he doesn't think that's a good idea.

Maj. -Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko said "a Syrian security employee received light wounds during the crossfire". It was thrown out altogether when Russia - Assad's ally - offered to dispose of Assad's chemical-weapons arsenal if the USA refrained from launching airstrikes.

Stating that the alleged use, if true, is deplorable, Rajamony pointed out that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, can not be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable. The peace process is gaining momentum.

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