Russia, Iran, Syria warns US against new strikes; calls for international probe over chemical attacks
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 15-Apr-2017

Moscow, April 15: Amidst controversies related to Syrian airstrikes by US and chemical attacks, Russia, Iran and Syria have warned Washington on Friday against launching new strikes. The three nations have also called for an international investigation of the chemical weapons attack there that killed nearly 90 people.
Notably, Russia has claimed that the victims were killed by toxic agents released from a rebel chemical arsenal and has pushed for an international probe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his Iranian and Syrian counterparts in Moscow, denounced the U.S. missile strikes on Syria as a "flagrant violation" of international law. Additional such actions would entail "grave consequences not only for regional but global security," Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the meeting sent a "strong message" to Washington. Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that the participants agreed that unilateral actions by the U.S. were unacceptable.

However, the U.S. accused Syrian government of deliberately launching the deadly chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. Whereas, Russia has alleged that the victims were killed by toxic agents from a rebel chemical arsenal hit by Syrian war planes.

Moscow has warned against putting the blame on Syrian government until an independent inquiry is conducted and vetoed a proposed U.N. resolution on the attack, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the affected area.

Lavrov also expressed skepticism about a preliminary investigation conducted by the U.N.'s chemical weapons watchdog. He alleged that its experts failed to visit the site and said it was unclear to Russia where evidence was taken and how it was In Russia's view, the probe conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should be widened to include experts from many nations, he added.

"If our U.S. colleagues and some European nations believe that their version is right, they have no reason to fear the creation of such an independent group," Lavrov added. "The investigation into this high-profile incident must be transparent and leave no doubt that someone is trying to hide something." Lavrov further noted that the U.S. strike on the Syrian base has undermined peace efforts in Syria and reflected Washington's focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. "Such attempts won't succeed," he said.

During this very important meet, the three ministers also discussed the beefing up of U.S. forces on Jordan's border with Syria, Moallem said. He added that Russia, Iran and Syria have "common procedures against any aggression," but wouldn't offer specifics.

Importantly, Russia has staunchly backed Assad's government throughout Syria's six-year civil war. It has conducted an air campaign in Syria since September 2015, saving Assad's government from imminent collapse and helping to reverse the Syrian military's fortunes.

However, on Syrian President Bashar-al Assad on Thursday said that the Syria’s military had given up all its chemical weapons in 2013 not have used them anyway. He further described a poison gas attack blamed on his Government last week as "100 percent fabrication" used to justify a US air strike.

A week before, 90 people were killed in the chemical attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. However, it was not clear that chemical attack is either done by the Syrian government or Russian jets despite the ban. After this chemical attack, United States launched 50 to 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat Airfield where the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks. In US action, 6 were killed.

Earlier, Iran and Russia already extended their full support to the Syrian government and stated US actions were wrong as it only violated Syrian sovereignty but failed to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.