Russian Federation vetoes extension of Syria gas attacks probe

A sarin gas attack on April 4 triggered global outrage as images of dying children were shown worldwide prompting the United States to launch missile strikes on a Syrian air base a few days later

The United Nations Security Council will hold a vote on Thursday to repeat an global inquiry on the chemical weapon use in Syria.

It remained unclear whether Russian Federation would veto the US-drafted measure, which would be the 10th time that Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

It means that the JIM's mandate expires at midnight Thursday, rather than be extended for another year.

The President affirmed that Syria has adopted the right policies in the face of those followed by some regional and Western countries that have sought to achieve their interests through spreading chaos in and disrupting the stability of an important and sensitive region like the Middle East without considering the disastrous results that may ensue from that.

As part of their work, UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said before the vote, the JIM investigators had looked into "the frankly ridiculous conspiracy theories that some were coming up with to explain away the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime".

"How then can we trust Russia's support for supposed peace in Syria?" she said.

In April, more than 80 people were killed in a sarin attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun - an attack that prompted the United States to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase. After the council voted on the United States draft, Bolivia then requested that the body vote on the Russian text.

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Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said this week that scrapping the chemical weapons probe in Syria "may send a bad signal, but the way the investigation has been conducted sends an even worse signal".

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council last week that the Washington revised its resolution to include some points in the Russian draft.

He also said that the inquiry fails "basic standards" of an investigation and ignores any information that would cast doubt on Damascus's involvement in the April incident.

Previous reports by the JIM have found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015, and that the Islamic State group used mustard gas in 2015.

"Not doing so would only give consent to such atrocities while tragically failing the Syrian people who have suffered from these despicable acts", it said.

"In effect Russian Federation accepts the use of chemical weapons in Syria".

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