United Nations warns against letting Syria crisis 'spiral' out of control

United Nations warns against letting Syria crisis 'spiral' out of control

Russian Federation has vetoed a US-drafted United Nations resolution that would have condemned last weekend's suspected gas attack near Damascus and established a new body to determine responsibility for Syrian chemical weapons attacks.

Twelve council members voted in favour of the US-drafted resolution, while Bolivia joined Russian Federation in voting no and China abstained.

After a heated two-hour debate, the United Nations Security Council rejected a Russian resolution Saturday that would have condemned airstrikes carried out hours earlier by the United States, Britain and France against Syria.

"Yet again, there are reports of what appears to be a chemical weapons attack in Syria", said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN.

The new USA draft says the council "will thoroughly assess how to take action" on its conclusions, and reaffirms the council's previous decision to take action against violators under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which includes sanctions and can be enforced militarily.

Russian Federation tabled a second draft resolution for vote on Tuesday for an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the watchdog of the Chemical Weapons Convention, into the chemical attack allegations.

Symbolic as the debate was, its ferocity underscored the bitter divisions within the Security Council over whether Syria's government had carried out a suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, and whether the three Western allies were justified in using force without a clear legal mandate.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia quoted President Vladimir Putin and said that in conducting the strikes, the US, United Kingdom and France had acted "without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN charter and the norms of global law".

In the late vote, five countries voted in favour, four voted against and six abstained. Since then, chemical weapons have repeatedly made appearances on Syria's blood-stained battlefield. (Photo by AFP)

Jaafari described that strikes by the US, Britain and France as "another message to the terrorists" that encourages them to use chemical weapons in their future attacks.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is anxious about the diplomatic impasse over how to respond to chemical weapons' use.

Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Activists and doctors in rebel-held areas said the six-car United Nations convoy was scheduled to visit the scene of strikes in the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

Before the vote, Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia accused the U.S. of pushing for a vote as a pretext for possible use of force against Syria.

Sullivan and Johnson agreed that "this attack bore hallmarks of previous chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime", according to a British Foreign Office spokesperson.

The State Department says it doesn't know what chemical was used, but says it is confident Syria was responsible.

The U.N. Charter recognizes two justifications for using military force against another country, self-defense or the permission of the Security Council.

French President Emmanuel Macron said France contributed to the USA -led Syrian attacks because the "red line declared by France in May 2017 has been crossed".

"The pictures of dead children were not fake news", she said.

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