Shells found at the site of the chemical attack in Douma
14 April, 2018, 22:19
Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN meeting in NY that the U.S. and its allies struck without waiting for an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, branding the attack "hooliganism".
Last month Britain blamed Russian Federation for a nerve agent attack on an ex-spy and his daughter, accusations Russian Federation has vehemently denied. The Kremlin readout said that Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a "thorough and objective probe".
Russian officials had said before the alleged attack in Douma that the rebels in Damascus suburbs were plotting chemical attacks to blame the Syrian government and set the stage for the US strike.
"We have a very high confidence that Syria was responsible and, once again, Russia's failure to stop them and their continued (lack of action) on this front has been part of the problem", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
There was no word from Putin himself, though Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was in contact with Washington to discuss an atmosphere which he described as alarming. "We can not take such risks", he said at a forum.
She said the message from airstrikes that "crippled Syria's chemical weapons program" was "crystal clear". "Our intelligence tells us otherwise".
Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged after the alleged attack, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.
In March Russia's General Staff said that rebels were planning a "provocation" in Eastern Ghouta with women and children set to play victims of a chemical attack. The ministry additionally pointed to previous alleged use of chemicals by the rebels in fighting with Syrian government troops.
US intelligence shows a Russian claim that the attack was faked was false, Sanders said.
Assad is supported by Iranian-back fighters as well as the Russian air force and has cemented his control over most of the western, more heavily populated, part of the country.
On the ground in Syria, rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons and their leader left the enclave, signaling the end of one of the bloodiest assaults of the seven-year war and a major win for the Assad regime.
Chemical weapons experts for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria to investigate the suspected poison gas attack. Both the Russian military and the Syrian government said they would facilitate the mission and ensure the inspectors' security.
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