Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

China Backs Probe Into Syria Chemical Attack

China Backs Probe Into Syria Chemical Attack

Tom Bossert, White House homeland security adviser, told ABC television that he "wouldn't take anything off the table" when asked whether the USA could again respond with a missile attack. The Syrian government has denied the allegations. The Russian foreign ministry called the latest reports a "provocation", warning against "military intervention under far-fetched and fabricated pretexts".

The European Union said "the evidence points towards yet another chemical attack by the regime".

Saturday's suspected poison gas attack on the besieged town of Douma came nearly exactly a year after the US missile attack prompted by the Khan Sheikhoun deaths.

The attack has drawn condemnation from the European Union, who has called for an "immediate response by the worldwide community" and the British Foreign Office, saying that if the use of chemical weapons proved to be true "it is further proof of Assad's brutality". "The violation of global law has caused death and suffering of innocent people".

A meeting on the attack was requested by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Peru and Cote d'Ivoire.

They "exchanged their information and analysis confirming the use of chemical weapons", it said.

- UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism concludes that Syrian government forces used chlorine as a chemical weapon in three cases and that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants used sulphur mustard.

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Conveniently abstracted from the wholesale demonization of Assad, Putin, Russia and Iran - the forces fighting to liberate Syria from the kind of people who when conducting attacks on civilians in London, Paris, Brussels, and San Bernadino are described as terrorists, but when it comes to Syria are described as rebels - is the fact that groups such as Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam have access to chemical weapons.

If confirmed, the use of chemical weapons would be another instance of the banned substances alleged to have been used in Syria's brutal civil war.

As global officials worked to try to confirm the chemical attack which happened late on Saturday in the town of Douma, Trump took the rare step of directly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with the incident.

In recent months, Ankara has been working closely with Russian Federation and Iran in a bid to bring an end to the seven-year conflict.

Last week Trump said he wanted to bring home the 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Syria working to help fight Islamic State militants.

It leaves open the question of whether the U.S. president will opt for a "discrete punishment or a more ambitious and co-ordinated" response, says The Guardian's diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour.

Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump agreed during a telephone call on April 8 that chemical agents were used in the deadly attack, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

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By now the pattern of these alleged chemical weapons attacks is set in stone.

'These latest reports must urgently be investigated and the global community must respond.

Laboratories working for the OPCW compared samples taken by a United Nations mission in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta after the Aug 21, 2013 attack to chemicals handed over by Damascus for destruction in 2014.

Pope Francis also condemned chemical attacks against civilians in a special appeal during Sunday's service in St Peter's Square in the Vatican.

The Syrian government denied the allegations, calling them fabrications.

While some in the administration believe Russian forces should not be considered immune to attack because of Moscow's support for Assad, officials said Putin would see any loss of Russian lives or equipment as a deliberate escalation, and likely would respond by increasing support for Assad, or retaliating in other ways.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more wounded in the offensive on Eastern Ghouta, which was once home to an estimated 400,000.

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