Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Syrian government to blame for chemical-weapons attack, Freeland says

Syrian government to blame for chemical-weapons attack, Freeland says

A former officer in Syria's chemical program, Adulsalam Abdulrazek, said Saturday the joint U.S., British, and French strikes hit "parts of but not the heart" of the program.

Addressing told the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria's chemical weapons programme.

The crisis seemed to quickly ease, however.

Russian Federation called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council today to discuss the coalitions' military action. Neither Moscow, Iran nor their armed proxies moved to retaliate against US forces or interests.

Vice President Mike Pence, in Peru for a meeting of regional leaders, said "there will be a price to pay" involving military force if Syrian chemical weapons are used again. If it wants to definitely wipe out Assad's chemical-weapons capabilities, it risks becoming further embroiled in an already intractable quagmire, or worse, provoking a clash between world powers.

The Trump administration said the same thing past year.

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no US or allies missiles were stopped.

President Donald Trump declared "mission accomplished" in Friday night's strike on three Syria targets and argued that it "could not have had a better result".

"More was expected from the American strike to affect the path of the war and to curb Assad's crimes". That strike had effectively no impact on the war. Speaking Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his support of the joint American, British and French military operation but said more must be done to hold the Syrian regime accountable for the hundreds of thousands killed using conventional weapons.

Mr Trudeau says it was "unfortunate it was required to take direct military actions to degrade the use of chemical weapons by the murderous Assad regime".

Canada has become the latest to lay the blame for a deadly chemical-weapons attack in Syria last week at Syrian President Bashar Assad's doorstep, despite Russian suggestions to the contrary. The strikes were carried out by manned aircraft and from ships that launched cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea. The missile salvo hit nearly simultaneously, within minutes of 4 a.m. local time, officials said. "Over the last 18 months, Russian Federation has completely recovered the Syrian air defense systems, and continues its development".

The Pentagon said it knew of no civilian casualties "at this time".

Syrian air defenses, however, responded firmly, shooting down most of the missiles fired at the country. Under the agreement, it was agreed that the estimate was "1,000 tons of chemical weapons, including the blister agent, Sulphur mustard, and sarin nerve agent". "The Government should do whatever possible to push Russian Federation and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend' s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account".

"It was a deliberate decision to go to the storage facilities, to go to the research facilities", she added.

The Pentagon said more than 40 Syrian surface-to-air missiles had "no material effect" on the allied strikes, which McKenzie said hit their targets.

A commander in the regional military alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad said sites hit also included an air base west of Damascus near the Lebanese border.

Rice said. "What they did was fire missiles on the three chemical plants that produces sarin and other chemical weapons".

"They had three buildings there and a parking deck, and now they don't", McKenzie said.

Nebenzia also said recent inspections by the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found no "traces of activity that would contravene the chemical weapons convention" at scientific research facilities targeted in the strikes. She said the president must present "a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives".

"Our initial assessment is that this target was completely destroyed", McKenzie said.

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