US wants UN inquiry into use of chemical weapons in Syria

US wants UN inquiry into use of chemical weapons in Syria

Washington: President Donald Trump is threatening an imminent military strike against Syria, vowing to respond “forcefully” to Saturday’s alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma and warning that Russia or any other nation found to share responsibility will “pay a price.”
The suspected chemical weapons attack late on Saturday killed at least 40 people, with more than 1,000 injured at several sites in Douma, a small town near the capital Damascus, according to rescuers and medics.
Trump met with his cabinet and vowed to make “major decisions” within the next 24 to 48 hours, amid mounting speculation about a US military response.
In New York, the UN Security Council met after Washington urged the international community to approve a probe into an alleged attack on Douma.
UN seeks way to address chemical arms
The UN Security Council weighed whether to hold a vote on Tuesday on a US proposal to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria, setting up a clash with Russia, which could decide to veto the measure, diplomats said.
The UN Security Council president said experts are working on a resolution on the continuing use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Peruvian Ambassador Gustavo Mesa-Cuadra told reporters late on Monday that council members are also consulting on an impartial investigation of the suspected poison gas attack in Douma.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley told Security Council diplomats that the United States wanted a vote on the measure, even though Russia said it contained “some unacceptable elements.”
‘Russia and Iran also bear responsibility’
Earlier, Trump had condemned what he said had been a “heinous attack on innocent” Syrians, after reports emerged of women and children choking to death in agony, adding: “This is about humanity — it can’t be allowed to happen.”
Asked whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin bore some of the responsibility for the latest attack to be blamed on his ally Bashar al Assad’s regime, Trump said: “He may, and if he does it’s going to be very tough.” “Everybody is going to pay a price. He will. Everybody will,” the US president added.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later made the warning even more explicit, saying: “Russia and Iran also bear responsibility for these acts since they would not be possible without their material support.”
Russia warns over ‘grave repercussions’
During a stormy council meeting, the Russian ambassador warned that a US military strike against Syria could have “grave repercussions” and stressed that the use of chlorine or sarin had not been confirmed in the attack.
Moscow had formally warned the United States that it would not allow its forces on the ground in Syria to be put at risk, said Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
“From what we hear now, I am afraid they are looking for a military option, which is very, very dangerous,” Nebenzia told reporters following an emergency council meeting.
“Armed force under mendacious pretext against Syria… where Russian troops have been deployed could lead to grave repercussions,” Nebenzia said.
International bodies led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were trying to establish exactly what happened in Douma.
The Syrian regime also has denied involvement in the attack.