Russia likely to call UN meeting over Syria attack

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Russian lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov said on Saturday that Russia was likely to call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss US, British and French air strikes on Syria, RIA news agency reported.

“The situation is being analyzed right now. Russia will demand a meeting of the UN Security Council, I think, for sure,” Dzhabarov, who is the deputy head of Russia's foreign affairs committee, was quoted by RIA as saying.

Overnight, US, British and French forces launched more than 100 missiles from ships and manned aircraft, targeting three of Syria’s main chemical weapons facilities. The strikes were a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend which killed dozens of civilians.

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Syria and its ally Russia have denied such an attack took place, and Moscow has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

The chairman of the international affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of international law and probably designed to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.

American and UN flags fly outside of the UN following a meeting UN Security Council emergency meeting on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (AFP)
American and UN flags fly outside of the UN following a meeting UN Security Council emergency meeting on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (AFP)

OPCW mission

“It’s...highly likely an attempt to create complications for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission which was just starting its work in Syria's Douma, or an attempt to completely derail it,” Interfax quoted Kosachev as saying.

A team of inspectors from the OPCW arrived in Syria on Thursday and Friday and had been expected to start their investigation into the alleged Douma attack on Saturday. The OPCW did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the work would go ahead.

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Separately, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the majority of missiles fired during the overnight attack on Syria by US, British and French forces were intercepted by Syrian government air defense systems, TASS news agency reported.

None of the air strikes hit zones where Russian air defense systems protect the Russian bases of Tartus and Hmeimim, Russian news agencies cited the Ministry of Defense as saying.

Turkey calls response as ‘appropriate’

Meanwhile, Turkey has welcomed air strikes on the Syrian government as an “appropriate” response, a foreign ministry source said on Saturday.

“We see the operation carried out against the Syrian government by the United States, the United Kingdom and France... as an appropriate response,” the source said.

Also, the Russian deputy foreign minister Ryabkov says Moscow in contact with US and other countries involved in air strikes on Syria.

Moscow is interested in cooperation with Washington, he added.

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