Sunday, April 22, 2018 | ePaper

‘Locked and loaded if Syria uses toxic gas again’

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Al Jazeera News :
The United States has warned it "is locked and loaded" to strike Syria if there are any more chemical attacks, hours after more than 100 bombs targeted facilities in Damascus and Homs said to be associated with the use of chemical weapons.
Speaking to an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Saturday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said: "If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded.
"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line."
The US, UK and France targeted three sites across Syria on Saturday, including: The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre in Damascus' Barzeh district, the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility, 20km west of Homs and the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Bunker Facility, just more than 7km from the storage facility.
Haley said the US and its allies "acted, not as revenge" but to "deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity".    
However, her Russian counterpart, Vassily Nebenzia, called on the Security Council to condemn the attacks.
"Today is not the day to shirk your responsibilities," he said. "The whole world is looking at you. Take a principled stand."
But Russia failed to garner the necessary votes, and was instead handed a stinging diplomatic defeat.
Only three countries - Russia, China and Bolivia - backed the resolution which called the US and its allies' strikes an "aggression" against Syria.
Eight countries voting against, and four countries abstained - Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Peru and Equatorial Guinea.
"Today is a very sad day for the world, the UN, its charter, which was blatantly, blatantly violated," Nebenzia said.
Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to United Nations, said the strikes were an "attack against international law," and called on the three countries to stop supporting "terrorists" in Syria.
He said members of the international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, arrived on Saturday in Damascus and were to meet Syrian authorities.
"My government will, of course, provide every support to this delegation for it to carry out its mission successfully," Jaafari said.
The attacks on Saturday came in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.

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