Chemical inspectors launch probe in Syria after Western strikes

16 April, 2018, 11:34 | Author: Wade Massey

That assessment was touted by Russian state media and officials who portrayed the air strikes - aimed at punishing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack allegedly carried out by his forces - as largely a flop.

The United States said on Saturday it overwhelmed and evaded Syrian air defenses overnight to strike every target at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons program, in a multi-pronged attack from the air and sea alongside British and French allies.

The Pentagon has said the strikes successfully hit the three chemical weapons facilities which were targeted.

Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, also an Assad ally, that any new Western strikes in Syria would provoke "chaos in global relations".

The Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he had convinced Trump, who has previously said he wanted to take USA forces out of Syria, to stay for "the long term".

"It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program".

"They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the U.S. and Europe", RIA quoted Serebrennikov as saying.

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Security permitting, a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will deploy briefly on Saturday to the site. Moscow condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for the OPCW's findings before attacking. It was not clear when the visit would take place.

Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the Western missile strikes were an act of aggression, Russian news agencies reported.

Despite a U.S. -Russian agreement to completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program after hundreds of people were gassed with sarin in Ghouta on August 21, 2013, the OPCW had been unable to verify that all manufacturing, storage and research facilities were destroyed.

Russian and Iranian military help over the past three years has allowed Assad to crush the rebel threat to topple him.

US President Donald Trump lauded the "perfectly executed" strike, the biggest worldwide attack on President Bashar al-Assad's regime during Syria's seven-year war, but both Damascus and Syria's opposition rubbished its impact.

Germany's chancellor said the allied strikes in Syria were a "necessary and appropriate" response.

Weapons inspectors will try on Saturday to reach the site of a suspected poison attack in the Syrian town of Douma, hours after Western countries launched air strikes in retaliation over the gassing. In the case of chlorine, it is permitted to possess it for civilian use, but not to use it as a weapon.

"Negotiations on the draft resolution are set to begin on Monday, but diplomats said it remained unclear when the council would vote on the proposal", AFP informs.

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