US, Russia clash over Syria at UN

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security and the situation in the Middle East

Russian Federation vetoed a US-drafted resolution on setting up a panel to identify the perpetrators of toxic gas attacks after chemical weapons were allegedly used in the rebel-held town of Douma.

This is the 12th time Russian Federation has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting Syria.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said before the vote that her delegation had tried hard to incorporate Russian proposals in the draft that would not compromise the impartiality of investigation.

Three resolutions on investigating the alleged chemical attack in a rebel-held area of Syria failed in the UN Security Council on Tuesday amid reports that the United States was preparing to attack facilities of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Both stressed that the culprit still needed to be confirmed.

Vladimir Shamanov, a retired general who heads the defense affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said in televised remarks Tuesday that a US strike in Syria could hurt Russian servicemen and trigger Russian retaliation. A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.

The threats of USA military movement in opposition to Syria "must make us severely apprehensive, all of us", Nebenzia talked about.

Global chemical weapons experts are expected to go to Douma to investigate the suspected poison gas attack.

That panel had found that the Syrian regime had dropped sarin on the village of Khan Sheikhun in April of a year ago.

The mission will aim to determine whether banned munitions were used but will not assign blame.

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May said on Wednesday that Britain is working with close allies "on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account and how we can prevent and deter the humanitarian catastrophe that comes from the use of chemical weapons in the future".

"Syria is keen on cooperating with the OPCW to uncover the truth behind the allegations that some Western sides have been advertising to justify their aggressive intentions", Syria's state news agency SANA said.

Nebenzia accused the United States of trying to mislead the worldwide community and said it is "taking one more step toward confrontation".

"Let that also be a response to planned military interventions".

Their evacuation restored Assad's control over eastern Ghouta, formerly the biggest rebel bastion near Damascus, and gave him his biggest battlefield victory since 2016, when he took back Aleppo.

The UN Security Council will gather at Russia's request on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria, Russia's permanent mission to the UN said.

Tass in a news story out of the northern Syria city of Homs quoted lawmaker Dmitry Sablin refuting reports that Assad may have fled Syria.

The weekly magazine Le Point said the Russian plane had flown over the frigate Aquitaine and was fully armed. It is now operating off Lebanon alongside USA ships as part of France's military contingent fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

"They're the gold standard in collecting this type of information (about chemical weapons use), and we would certainly rely upon them, as we have in other instances, to take a look at that", she said.

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