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US: US will respond to suspected chemical attack in Douma

10th Apr 2018
US: US will respond to suspected chemical attack in Douma

By Safvan Allahverdi

 

WASHINGTON (AA): The U.S. is “determined” to respond to the Assad Government’s latest alleged use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, regardless of whether the UN Security Council acts or not, a top American diplomat said Monday. However according to Reuters, “initial U.S. assessments have so far been unable to determine conclusively what materials were used in the attack and could not say with certainty that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces were behind it.”

Jaish al-Islam rebels and civilians have begun leaving Douma after negotiations with the Syrian Government.

Jaysh al-Islam is the largest rebel faction in the area,as was Liwa al-Islam.The group was a part of the Islamic Front. The organization has rejected membership of the Free Syrian Army The group along with Ahrar ash-Sham are among the main rebel groups supported by Saudi Arabia. The group cooperated with Al Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Russian specialists accompanied by Russian Military Police visited the formerly rebel-held city of Douma to probe an alleged chemical attack launched by the Syrian Army, according to the Syrian based AMN.

The specialists inspected the location where the purported attack took place. However, according to the Russians, no evidence has been found to prove such claim.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that no proof has been yet found to condemn the Syrian government of a chemical attack in the rebel bastion.

However, the US is blaming the Syrian Government for the suspected chemical attack.

“We are beyond appeals to conscience. We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told an emergency Security Council briefing on Saturday’s attack.

“History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria,” she said.

“Either way, the United States will respond.”

The meeting followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that the decision on a U.S. response would come within the next day or two, saying: “This is about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen,”

The meeting was called by the U.S. and eight other members of the Council to hold the Assad regime accountable and to demand an investigation and access to victims.

‘Only a monster’

“Only a monster targets civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded. No hospitals to save their lives. No doctors or medicine to ease their pain,” Haley continued.

“I could hold up pictures of all of this killing and suffering for the council to see, but what would be the point? The monster who was responsible for these attacks has no conscience, not even to even be shocked by pictures of dead children.”

Haley also slammed the Security Council’s failure to counter Syria normalizing the use of chemical weapons, saying: “The great evil of chemical weapons use that once unified the world in opposition is on the verge of becoming the new normal.”

Pointing the finger at Moscow for supporting Assad, Haley said: “The Russian regime, whose hands are also covered in the blood of Syrian children, cannot be shamed by pictures of its victims,”

She added: “We must not overlook Russia and Iran’s roles in enabling the Assad regime’s murderous destruction.”

‘Syria war threatens international security’

During the meeting, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura also said recent developments show more than ever before the dangers that the secretary-general has warned of before.

“For the first time I have reached a point in which I am expressing concern for international security, not only regional or national or Syrian security,” he said.

He argued the Syria conflict threatens international security due to conflicts of interest of regional and global powers which could cause unimaginable destructive consequences.

‘Serious consequences’

After facing severe criticism of Russia from fellow Security Council members, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia slammed the U.S. and other members for “fishing in the murky waters” of the Middle East, causing further chaos there.

“Everywhere you go, everything you touch, you leave behind only chaos. You try to fish in those murky waters, but the only thing you catch is mutants,” Nebenzia said, referring to the U.S.

Threatening Washington, he added that there would be “serious consequences” if military action is launched in Syria.

British Ambassador Karen Pierce also told the meeting that the U.K. initially wants to see an investigation of the attack by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Assad Government forces struck targets in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma district on Saturday midnight, using a toxic gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, alleges the controversial Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.

The Damascus suburb has been under siege for the last five years, and humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo:  Dead bodies of people who were killed allegedly by poisonous gas attack by Syrian GOvt in Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 08, 2018. Photographer: Halil el-Abdullah/AA]

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