The worrying lessons of the Syria chemical attack — APPS

At least 86 people in the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun were killed Tuesday in a chemical attack that left hundreds choking, gripped by spasms or foaming at the mouth.

Photographs from the site showed a pair of green slippers, abandoned near a blood-spattered doorway.

Residents cowered in bedrooms and basements throughout Saturday, underscoring the apparently unchanged threat they faced from the Syrian government's arsenal of rockets, barrel bombs and other weapons that have resulted in a majority of the conflict's half-million dead.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Russian Federation on its failure to prevent Syria's use of chemical weapons in meetings this week in Moscow, he said in interviews aired Sunday (April 9).

A joint command centre made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the US strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

A protester reacts during a rally against the US missile strikes in Syria, Friday, April 7, 2017, in NY. The Syrian army claims that four children were killed in the attack, as well as five additional civilians.

USA allies from Asia, Europe and the Middle East expressed support, if sometimes cautiously, for Friday's missile barrage. They were referring to the 2003 USA -led invasion of Iraq after Washington said Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction - a belief that later turned out to be incorrect. "No one here can sleep properly; people are really afraid". "I'm disappointed in that response from the Russians because it indicates their continued support for the Assad regime", said Tillerson, who is expected to make a hard trip to Moscow next week.

On the other end of the spectrum, while the Russians have made no bones in criticising Trump's move terming it as an "aggression", the Chinese media also reacted on similar lines saying the American strikes on Syria were hostile.

Haley said she thought a regime change would occur because "all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria".

Russian Federation meanwhile said a decision by the British foreign secretary to cancel a visit to Moscow later this month showed a lack of understanding of events in Syria.

Haley noted that ousting Assad was not the US's only priority. "They [Syrians] are the only ones who have the right to decide their fate".

According to CNN, the same site of the chemical attack has been attacked again, this time with traditional weapons. Some accuse Moscow of applying a "scorched-earth policy" that targets hospitals, schools and residential areas more than frontlines to break the resolve of the anti-Assad insurgency. But Johnson said in a statement that "developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally".

"Part of the discussions when I visit Moscow next week is to call upon Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian government to fulfill the obligation it made to the worldwide community when it agreed to be the guarantor of the elimination of the chemical weapons and why Russia has not been able to achieve that is unclear to me".

But he said the United States expected Russian Federation to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with al-Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russian Federation closer into some level of responsibility".

Meanwhile, Russia and Iran, Assad's most influential supporters, have rallied around him.

The United States is vowing to keep up the pressure on Syria after the intense nighttime wave of missile strikes from U.S. ships, despite the prospect of escalating Russian ill will that could further inflame one of the world's most vexing conflicts.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier condemned "flagrant United States aggression on Syria" following the Tomahawk strike on al-Shayrat.

Yesterday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem repeated the government's denial that it used chemical weapons on Khan Sheikhun at dawn, saying warplanes had instead targeted a jihadist warehouse.

  • Leroy Wright