Russia warns of ‘harmful’ escalation over Syria

A member of the Russian military police in Syria, March 2018.Picture copyright
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Russia is an ally of Syria and offers army backing to its authorities

Russia has warned the US that launching air strikes in response to a suspected chemical assault in Syria might spark a warfare between the 2 nations.

“The fast precedence is to avert the hazard of warfare,” Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia mentioned on Thursday.

He accused Washington of placing worldwide peace in danger and mentioned the scenario was “very harmful”.

Western powers are considered getting ready for strikes however Russia, a Syrian ally, opposes such motion.

“We can not exclude any potentialities, sadly,” Mr Nebenzia advised reporters after a non-public assembly of the UN Safety Council in New York.

He mentioned there was a heightened “hazard of escalation” due to the Russian army presence in Syria.

Senior Russian figures, together with the top of the army, have warned that US missiles shall be shot down and their launch websites focused if Russian personnel come beneath risk.

Mr Nebenzia additionally referred to as for the UN Safety Council to fulfill once more on Friday to debate the potential for Western army motion.

The White Home says it’s persevering with to evaluate intelligence and discuss to its allies on reply.

In the meantime, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says consultants are travelling to Syria and can begin investigations on Saturday.

Why is the West contemplating army motion?

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Western leaders have been planning a response to Saturday’s suspected chemical assault

Opposition activists, rescue staff and medics say dozens of individuals died in a suspected chemical assault on the rebel-held city of Douma on Saturday.

President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities – which receives army backing from Russia – denies any involvement and says stories of a chemical assault are “fabricated”.

However the Violations Documentation Middle (VDC), which data alleged violations of worldwide regulation in Syria, mentioned our bodies have been discovered with oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns.

On Thursday, US officers have been quoted as saying that samples from victims had examined optimistic for chlorine and a nerve agent.

Equally, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned he had “proof” that the Syrian authorities had attacked Douma with chemical weapons, with out giving additional particulars.

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Media captionUnverified video exhibits kids being handled after the alleged gasoline assault

Within the UK, cupboard ministers agreed that it was “extremely doubtless” the Assad regime was accountable for the alleged assault and mentioned the usage of chemical weapons should not “go unchallenged”

Throughout a cellphone name late on Thursday, UK Prime Minister Theresa Could and US President Donald Trump agreed on the necessity to deter chemical weapon use in Syria.

They agreed to “preserve working carefully” on the problem, Mrs Could’s workplace mentioned in a press release.

What has Trump mentioned in regards to the assault?

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Media captionTrump: Choices on Syria shall be made “pretty quickly”

On Sunday, the day after the assault, the US president mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin bore duty for the “atrocity” in rebel-held Douma, due to his assist for the Syrian authorities.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a deliberate journey overseas, has been canvassing assist for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

On Wednesday he mentioned the missiles have been “coming”, however on Thursday he tweeted that he had “by no means mentioned when”. It “might be very quickly or not so quickly in any respect”, he mentioned.

He later advised reporters on the White Home: “We’re having a gathering as we speak on Syria… We’ve to make some additional selections. So that they’ll be made pretty quickly.”

Additionally on Thursday, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis advised a congressional panel: “I imagine there was a chemical assault and we’re searching for the precise proof.”

What’s Russia’s place?

Russia has described the stories of a chemical assault as a “provocation” designed to justify Western intervention.

President Vladimir Putin mentioned on Wednesday that he hoped widespread sense would prevail and that the scenario would stabilise.

He added that Russia would “preserve all its worldwide obligations in full”.

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Media captionIf US strikes trigger Russian casualties, there will be retaliation says the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg

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