Airlines warned of possible Syria strike


Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the United Nations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at president Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

The United States and other Western powers are considering taking military action over a suspected poison gas attack Saturday on a rebel-held Syrian town that long had held out against President Bashar Assad's forces.

The United States "gave diplomacy chance after chance after chance", she said, only to have Russian Federation block, last Tuesday, an effort to set up an independent body to investigate chemical attacks in Syria.

Tuesday's veto by Russian Federation was its 12th over Security Council action against Syria since the Syrian civil war started seven years ago.

In the early hours of Saturday, the US, Britain and France launched a barrage of missile attacks against Syria in response to what they claim to have been a chemical attack by the Syrian government in the town of Douma in the suburb of Damascus on April 7.

But the Joint Investigative Mechanism has been disbanded because its mandate was not renewed by the Security Council in November, when Russian Federation cast a veto to a resolution that would have extended the life of the panel for another year. Russia vetoed a United States text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get a minimum nine votes to pass.

On Thursday, Mrs May gained cabinet approval for an "international response" in Syria and Mr Macron said his government has proof that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma.

As it looked to head off the threat of Western strikes, Syria said it had invited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has blamed the regime for previous attacks, to visit the site. A team of United Nations experts left their Damascus hotel for a third day of on-site investigations into apparent chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of the capital.

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"The pictures of dead children were not fake news", she said. "It reveals the capacity and the will to use weapons which are outlawed by worldwide law", he said.

A resolution needs at least 9 "yes" votes to be approved.

"It's time for Washington to learn that the global code of behavior regarding the use of force is regulated by the United Nations Charter", Nebenzia said.

The airspace over Syria is empty and likely will be until at least midday Friday, as the US and its allies contemplate missile strikes in the war-torn country.

The U.N. body was briefed by the Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Thomas Markram and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura ahead of the open hearing. Any plan by Washington and its allies to take military action was likely to be on hold until then, the source said.

"The perpetrators are named before any investigation, and apparently they are to be punished", Nebenzia said. Syria signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, agreeing to remove its chemical weapons.

The OPCW said it would "shortly" deploy a fact-finding team to Douma for an investigation, but United States officials said they were working from their own information and would not necessarily hold back.