Friday, 20 April, 2018

Missile Dissonance: US, Russia Give Vastly Divergent Accounts Of Syria Air Strikes

US, France, UK to brief NATO allies today on Syria strikes Syrians Celebrate, OPCW to Continue Chemical Weapon Probe
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 11:37

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They have risked a confrontation with Moscow, the Syrian regime's top ally, with President Vladimir Putin warning that fresh attacks would spark "chaos", while Washington vowed economic sanctions against Russian Federation rather than further military action.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Assad in a phone call that Iran "stands by Syria", the Syrian presidency said on Saturday.

The two leaders "found that this illegal action seriously damaged the prospects of a political settlement in Syria", a Kremlin statement said.

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.

A few hours after the US -led strike in Syria, the Syrian Presidency posted a video showing President Bashar al-Assad entering his office early on Saturday, and the state-owned news agency SANA published news to claim that life is normal in the capital, Damascus.

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

Despite severely damaging the infrastructure with the strikes, McKenzie said the Pentagon would not rule out that the Assad government still had capability to use such weapons again.

US preparing new sanctions on Russia over Syria, Haley says
The UK, US and France have presented plans for a ceasefire in Syria in the wake of their joint airstrikes on the war-torn country. She says the US was confident that they had "significantly degraded his ability to use chemical weapons ever again".

Syria and Iran to dominate Arab League summit agenda
The summit holds paramount importance in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem. Among the leaders in attendance was Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who walked the red carpet and was greeted by King Salman.

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Responding to Haley's remarks about the plans for new sanctions, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of the defence committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, said Moscow was ready for the penalties, according to RIA news agency. "I suspect, however, they'll think long and hard about it".

A team of chemical experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, arrived in Damascus hours after the strikes.

The inspectors were due to attempt to visit the Douma site.

Mekdad declined to comment to reporters waiting outside the hotel where the meeting took place. "And we were able to repel it with Soviet missiles from the 70s", Russian lawmaker Dmitry Sablin quoted Assad as saying, TASS 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.

On the other hand, France asserted that Russian Federation did not have prior notice regarding the trio's strike, but was actually informed about the strikes after launching them against limited targets in Syria.

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

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the USA military had kept its strikes limited because it knew a wider attack would spark retaliation from Damascus and its allies and inflame the region.

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