First Published: 2013-09-02

 

Russia FM: Syria chemical attack claims 'absolutely' unconvincing

 

Arab FMs urge UN, world to take 'deterrent' steps on Syria, fall short of calling for military strikes.

 

Middle East Online

The war drums are beating

MOSCOW - Russia is totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the United States and its allies of an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus that the West says was perpetrated by the regime, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"What we were shown before and most recently by our American partners as well the British and the French absolutely does not convince us," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a university lecture, adding there were "many doubts" about images of the alleged attack posted on the Internet.

Meanwhile, Arab League foreign ministers on Sunday urged the United Nations and the international community to take "deterrent" action against the Syrian regime over alleged chemical attacks near Damascus.

But they fell short of calling for military strikes as proposed by the United States, amid divisions in Arab ranks with several countries opposed to foreign intervention in Syria.

"The United Nations and the international community are called upon to assume their responsibilities in line with the UN Charter and international law by taking the necessary deterrent measures" following the August 21 suspected chemical attacks, they said in a statement.

The ministers, meeting in Cairo, said the Syrian regime was "responsible" for the attacks which the United States says killed hundreds of people with the use of sarin gas.

US President Barack Obama said he will seek congressional approval to launch a punitive strike on the regime in Damascus over last month's attacks in suburbs of the Syrian capital.

UN chemical weapons inspectors have carried out a probe in the suspected sites and collected samples which will be sent to European laboratories from Monday.

The UN has refused to announce its timeline for finishing the analysis.

"We have learned through samples that were provided to the United States and that have now been tested from first responders in East Damascus, (that) hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin," US Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

The Arab foreign ministers said those responsible for unleashing the poison gas in Syria must be tried before an international court "like other war criminals."

They also called for "all forms of support needed by the Syrian people" but without explicitly calling for military strikes as proposed by the United States and France.

 

Pressure on multiple fronts squeezes rebels in northern Syria

Iraq prepares for Mosul offensive with massive deployment

Libya Presidential Council needs ‘more time’ to form unity government

Khamenei to Iran officials: Don’t let elections distract you!

Qatar hopes to host Summer Olympics (…) ‘maybe 2028’

Israel sets two conditions for return of Palestinian bodies

Moscow denies accusation that air strikes undermined Syria talks

Israeli general says IS wounded were treated in Gaza

Doctors, police protest in northern Iraq

Canada to cease all air strikes against ISIS by February 22

Outraged Italy demands answers over brutal killing of student in Egypt

Bahrain charges 11 with forming 'terrorist' group

Obama to Arab countries: security requires 'inclusive government'

Tunnel collapse kills one Gazan man on Egypt border

South Sudan war zones on the brink of famine

UN accuses Assad regime of 'extermination' in jails

At least 35 migrants drown in two accidents in Aegean Sea

Cameron's office warns Brexit could affect border controls

Russia detains seven alleged IS members

Turkey groups send in aid for thousands of Syria refugees on border

Syria rebels withdraw from three Aleppo villages

Saudi intercepts Scud missile from Yemen

Merkel heads to Turkey to press for tighter border controls

Turkey promises to let in Syria refugees 'if necessary'

Hamas armed branch executes one of its own members

Syria army advances towards rebel town of Tal Rifaat

Netherlands probes civilian casualties in Iraq air strikes

Algeria parliament adopts Bouteflika’s constitutional reforms

Erdogan asks Americans: Who’s your partner, Turkey or Kurds?

UAE ready to send ground troops to Syria

Tunisia completes construction of Libya border fence

Algeria parliament to vote on constitutional reforms

Egypt returns body of Italian student Giulio Regeni

Iran reverses mass ban on candidates for parliamentary polls

Thousands of Syria refugees brave bad weather at border with Turkey

New photos reveal serious abuse of Iraq prisoners in US facilities

EU reminds Turkey: Keep your border open to Syria refugees

Somalia recaptures key port of Merka from Shebab

Iran warns Saudi Arabia over possible ground action in Syria

Palestinian journalist to keep up hunger strike

Iraq’s Sistani to end weekly political sermons

Shebab fighters recapture key port in Somalia

Syria regime forces close in on Daraa

Israeli leaders slam Arab MPs, refuse to return Palestinian corpses

IS jihadists rise in Libya, drop in Iraq and Syria