United Nations chief says Syria tensions could spark 'full-blown military escalation'

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"Washington has adopted a categorical policy to unleash a military scenario against Syria", the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vasilly Nebenzia, told the council.

The UN chief said it was important to act in line with the UN charter and worldwide law.

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington estimates that Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's forces have used chemical weapons at least 50 times during the seven-year-long conflict.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the five permanent members of the Security Council to break the current deadlock on reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and prevent the situation spiralling out of control in the war-torn country, Financial Express reported.

During the meeting, Britain's permanent representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce said that Russian actions regarding Syria are "the latest in a pernicious chronology of disregard for worldwide law" by Moscow. I urge all Member States to show restraint in these unsafe circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."The joint operation by the USA and its allies was in response to a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma last week".

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalise the use of chemical weapons", Haley said.

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Guterres also said it was unfortunate that there was no agreement on a mechanism for accountability for the use of chemical weapons.

"I urge the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and fill this gap".

Guterres said he will continue to engage with member states to help achieve this objective.

Guterres remarks came after the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which was created as a body to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2015, expired in November past year.

By "deciding once again to use chemical weapons" in the rebel-held town of Douma, "the regime has reached a point of no-return", Delattre said.

United Nations partner the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has deployed a fact-finding mission to the area.

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