Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

UK-Russia tensions rise over chemical attack and spy poisoning

UK-Russia tensions rise over chemical attack and spy poisoning

Even after worldwide inspections and a USA air strike in 2017, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is being accused of using chemical weapons to attack civilians in Douma, Syria, on April 7.

Elsewhere, a senior Russian lawmaker warned the United States that Russia would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime. "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Meanwhile, an global chemical weapons watchdog organization said Thursday that its team is en route to Syria and will begin work Saturday to investigate the attack, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

"We're still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies", Mattis said.

Both Syria and Russian Federation have said reports of the attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers in Douma and have accused the U.S. of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the government.

Secretary of Defence James Mattis and President Donald Trump are discussing military options to conduct air strikes on Syria.

And as recently as March 29, Trump mulled ending US military action in Syria now that the Islamic State's presence and power there is decimated.

Senior Russian figures have threatened to meet any USA strikes with a response. Or perhaps even worse given that Trump isn't publicly laying out a broad strategy of how to solve the problems surrounding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but rather previewing actual missile launches?

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that his threats are "reckless" and endanger worldwide peace and security.

Earlier on Thursday French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that he has the proof for the usage of chemical weapons during an air strike at Douma in Syria.

Zasypkin also said a clash between Russian Federation and the United States over Syria "should be ruled out and therefore we are ready to hold negotiations".

Syria and Russian Federation deny the attack took place.

Zakharova also said a missile strike could destroy evidence of chemical weapons - or perhaps cover up a lack of such evidence.

"I think that in the Syrian theatre, Russian Federation is unlikely to interfere with the coming US operation or take military steps to prevent it or in retribution, despite their comments", Cliff Kupchan, a former US State Department official who is now chairman of the Eurasia Group, told Business Insider.

Russia announced that Syrian forces have retaken the region as the diplomatic fallout between Vladimir Putin and the United Kingdom continues to intensify following the poisoning of a Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. Watching early morning cable TV, seeing a report about Russia's pledge to shoot down missiles aimed at Syria and thinking "I'll show them"?

"Jaish al-Islam fighters handed over their heavy weapons to Russian military police in the town of Douma on Wednesday", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

Assad has been blamed for previous attacks by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and UN-backed war crimes investigators. The Syrian government denies responsibility.

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