Chemical weapons watchdog plans visit to suspected Syria attack site

"I know one thing for sure - we won't allow Iran to establish a stronghold in Syria, whatever the cost".

He added that Russian Federation is calling for an "unprejudiced and objective investigation before making judgements" on the suspected use of chemical weapons. "Very tough", Trump said of the United States response.

U.S. president Donald Trump has condemned what he calls a "mindless chemical attack" in Syria that has killed women and children. Iran vowed to retaliate the attack, which reportedly claimed the lives of at least seven Iranian nationals. If he does, it's going to be very tough.

Later on Tuesday, the UN Security Council will vote on competing United States and Russian draft resolutions on the Syria incident. It was the second call between the two leaders since the Syrian attack took place.

Global officials are working to try to confirm a suspected poison gas attack in the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, which aid groups said killed dozens of people.

According to activist groups, helicopters dropped barrel bombs filled with toxic gas on the last rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged for six years and the focus of a renewed government offensive launched in mid-February. "The images, especially of suffering children, have shocked the conscience of the entire civilised world", Sanders said during her daily news conference yesterday.

Syria's official Sana news agency denied the reports, saying Assad's rapidly advancing army "doesn't need to use any chemical weapons as the media channels that support the terrorists are fabricating".

It's armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the weapon of choice in a USA attack one year ago on an airfield in Syria following an alleged sarin gas attack on civilians. American ships in the Mediterranean were poised to launch missiles, but Obama pulled back after key US ally Britain, as well as Congress, balked at his plan.

Nebenzia alleged that the anti-government forces had chemical weapons and could stage an attack.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned that any foreign military strike against Syria over "fabricated" reports of chemical warfare may lead to the "gravest consequences".

News of the OPCW mission to Douma also came as the UN Security Council was due to vote later Tuesday on rival USA and Russian draft resolutions in response to the alleged attack.

The OPCW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Whitehall sources confirmed the United Kingdom was "not ruling anything out nor in" but acknowledged there were "political issues" around securing parliamentary support for British involvement after MPs voted against strikes following a chemical attack in 2013.

Instead, they have in recent investigations gathered blood samples from victims and interviewed witnesses outside Syria.

"The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly", the OPCW said in a statement Tuesday from its headquarters in The Hague, while not giving a specific date.

Earlier Monday, Syria accused Israeli warplanes of attacking a Syrian airfield in Homs province.

  • Leroy Wright


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