US, UK and France launch military strikes on Syria

UN Security Council 'paralyzed' after Syria gas attack

UN Security Council 'paralyzed' after Syria gas attack

Rescuers and medics in Douma say more than 40 people died after a "poisonous chlorine gas attack" late Saturday in the last rebel-held pocket of Eastern Ghouta.

Russian Federation vetoed the first resolution sponsored by the USA and its supporters calling for an independent investigative mechanism into the use of chemical weapons, after it got 12 votes for, two against and an abstention by China.

US President Donald Trump confirmed "precision strikes" had been ordered on targets associated with the Syrian government's chemical weapons programme.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Washington's decision to put forward its resolution could be a prelude to a Western strike on Syria.

As the United States pushed for a new UN inquiry, U.S. defence secretary Jim Matthis warned that Washington does not "rule out anything", suggesting military action was possible in response to the alleged chemical attack.

Russian Federation rejected a new U.S. proposal at the United Nations today to set up an investigation to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Mr Nebenzia accused the United States of trying to mislead the worldwide community and said it is "taking one more step toward confrontation". Russian Federation insists there's no evidence that chemical weapons were used.

The Security Council also rejected another Russian-drafted resolution that would have welcomed an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of allegations of a weekend chemical attack in the suburbs of Syria's capital. Eight countries voted against and three abstained.

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She said the United States "went the extra mile" to get Russian support for the resolution to ensure that a new investigative body would be impartial, independent and professional - provisions she said were not in the rival Russian resolution.

"You do not want to hear the fact that no traces of a chemical attack were found in Douma", Mr Nebenzia said.

"This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we can not allow the erosion of the global norm that prevents the use of these weapons".

He accused the U.S. of introducing the resolution knowing it would not pass so they could use it as a pretext to attack Syria.

He also discussed with British Prime Minister Theresa May the preparation for a strike on the Syrian government, which it blames for the chemical attack. It blamed Islamic State militants for mustard gas use.

The Russian ambassador said Moscow had told the United States that it would not allow its forces on the ground in Syria to be put at risk.

Mr Trump said the military action was a "combined operation" with the armed forces of the United Kingdom and France.

Later, Nebenzia, addressing Haley directly, said, "I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you are now developing for Syria".

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