Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Syria air strikes were 'legally and morally right', Theresa May tells MPs

Syria air strikes were 'legally and morally right', Theresa May tells MPs

The United States accused Russia on Monday of blocking global inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.

The intelligence assessments presented over the weekend by the United States and France to justify missiles strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb relied to an unusual degree on information gleaned from open source material and social media.

The U.S., United Kingdom and France accuse President Bashar Al-Assad of carrying out the April 7 attack, which killed dozens of people.

Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials went even further, accusing Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack.

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The former rebel Syrian town of Douma on the outskirts of Damascus is seen on April 17, 2018 after the Syrian army declared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta, following a blistering two month offensive on the rebel enclave.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed allegations that Russia was trying to hamper the OPCW inspectors, saying Moscow strongly supports their mission to Douma.

The Associated Press, during a government-organized visit Monday to Douma, spoke to survivors and witnesses who described being hit by gas. President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his subordinates have called the accusations of Russian complicity a lie.

But French President Emmanual Macron defended the military action in an impassioned and at times angry speech to the European parliament.

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The targeted sites were largely empty, and were all said to be facilities for chemical weapons storage or production.

He spoke of the "outrage by images we've seen of children, women who died of a chlorine attack". "Three countries have intervened, and let me be quite frank: this is for the honor of the worldwide community". On Tuesday, Kirillov said that inspectors would be allowed once the roads leading to the site were "cleared of mines" and tested by United Nations forces for safety, according to NPR News. Saudi Arabia is also a member of the US -led coalition battling IS militants.

It is now under Syrian and Russian military control.

"As with any crime scene, it is crucial to get there as soon as possible", said Olivier Lepick, a fellow at the Paris-based Foundation for Scientific Research.

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The suspected April 7 gas attack on Douma, near Damascus, reportedly left more than 40 people dead and was blamed by Western powers on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Israel did not confirm or deny it.

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