Russia’s embassy in Britain said on Friday that Moscow was concerned by a decision taken by British ministers on Thursday to take action in Syria, saying reports of a planned military attack would represent a “reckless” move by London.
The embassy said in a statement that Russian officials who visited the town of Douma in Syria – the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, according to the United States and its allies – did not find traces of chemical substances.
The World Health Organisation said this week an estimated 500 patients in Douma went to health facilities with “signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals”.
Macron urges stepped-up dialogue with Russia over Syria
French President Emmanuel Macron stressed on Friday concerns about the deterioration of the situation in Syria in a phone call with his Russia counterpart Vladimir Putin and called for more dialogue with Moscow, his office said.Macron, who on Thursday said France had proof the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in an attack last week, also expressed regret at Russia’s use of its United Nations Security Council veto on the attack.”The president of the republic called for dialogue with Russia to be maintained and stepped up to bring peace and stability back to Syria,” a statement from Macron’s office said. Russia claims ‘Western service’ behind Douma strike
Russia claims ‘Western service’ behind Douma strike
The deadly chemical attack in Douma, Syria was orchestrated by a Western “special service,” and Moscow has proof, Russia’s foreign minister claimed on Friday.”We have hard evidence that it was a performance. And the special services of one state which is now eager to be in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had their hand in it,” Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, without specifying the country allegedly involved.Amid signs that a military strike in response to the attack may be coming, Lavrov said he hoped no one would act hastily on Syria.”God forbid anyone takes the plunge in Syria,” he said.“I hope no one will dare take such a reckless step. But, nevertheless, even minor excesses will again lead to new waves of migrants to Europe.”He also urged parties to wait for the results of an analysis by the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog, which sent experts to Douma to collect evidence of the April 8 attack.Video: Assad’s merciless chemical massacre in Eastern GhoutaLast Saturday, Assad regime forces struck targets in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma district using a poisonous gas, killing at least 78 people and injuring hundreds more, according to the White Helmets civil defense.On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 which called for a month-long cease-fire in Syria – especially in Eastern Ghouta — to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.Despite the resolution, the regime and its allies early this month launched a major ground offensive backed by Russian air power aimed at capturing opposition-held parts of Eastern Ghouta.Home to some 400,000 people, the suburb has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years.Use of chemical weapons, murder of innocent people is unforgivable, says Turkish PMBritish ministers back action to deter Syrian chemical weapon useRussia deputy PM says Int’l relations should not depend on one person’s mood
Erdoğan says discussed steps for peace in Syria with Putin, Trump
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that he had discussed with his U.S. and Russian counterparts potential steps for peace in Syria, after a series of phone calls in recent days.Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers, Erdoğan said he had told both U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that increasing tensions in the region was not right.“The talks I held with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [U.S. President Donald] Trump were mainly focused on Syria. We evaluated the developments in Syria and talked about what could be done to ensure that peace prevails there soon. During these discussions, we focused on the point that together with ensuring peace, the tragedy in the region must also end,” Erdoğan said.Use of chemical weapons, murder of innocent people is unforgivable, says Turkish PM“The incident in Eastern Ghouta and Douma have been especially upsetting. They are tableaus of disaster. I had video recordings. I sent these videos especially to Putin with the special representative that was dispatched,” he added.Dozens of people have died in what appears to be a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta on Saturday.Erdoğan also said that the current situation showed tensions had eased, but that he would continue his talks with his U.S. and Russian counterparts.Germany looks to step up pressure on Russia over SyriaU.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of imminent military action in Syria over the poison gas attack, declaring that missiles “will be coming” and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar Assad.Trump was responding to a Russian warning that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria over the assault on an opposition enclave would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.In another tweet on Thursday, Trump appeared to cast doubt on at least the timing of any U.S.-led military action. “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” it said.British ministers back action to deter Syrian chemical weapon useRussia calls for emergency UN Security Council meetingUS has blood samples verifying chemical attackUK to work with US, France on Douma responseTrump yet to make ‘final decision’ on Syria strike
Germany looks to step up pressure on Russia over Syria
Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday that Berlin is looking to step up its pressure on Russia over the Syria issue.“The Russians are protecting Assad. We can’t go on like this. So we’re keeping up the political pressure on Russia and we would like to increase it further. Having Russia change its behavior is a must for solving the Syria issue,” Heiko Maas told a joint press conference with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.He said Germany is in touch with France on the chemical attack in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, which killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.“Repeated and illegal use of chemical weapons should not be left unanswered,” Maas said.Maas also said since the issue in Syria cannot be resolved without Russia, they have not cut off contact.Last Satuday Assad regime forces struck targets in the Damascus suburb’s Douma district using a poisonous gas, according to the White Helmets civil defense.On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 which called for a month-long cease-fire in Syria, especially in Eastern Ghouta, to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.Despite the resolution, the regime and its allies early this month launched a major ground offensive backed by Russian air power aimed at capturing opposition-held parts of Eastern Ghouta.Home to some 400,000 people, the suburb has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years.Earlier this month, a UN commission of inquiry released a report accusing the regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Use of chemical weapons, murder of innocent people is unforgivable, says Turkish PM
Turkey’s prime minister on Friday urged the U.S. and Russia to avoid initiatives that would “complicate” an already volatile situation in Syria.”The region has already been paying a great price for civil war and migration. We advise our friends to steer clear of initiatives that would make things even more complicated,” Binali Yıldırım told reporters following Friday prayers in the capital Ankara.Yıldırım’s remarks followed dueling remarks by the U.S. and Russia sparked by a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump.Yıldırım also stressed that the use of chemical weapons is unforgivable.Video: Assad’s merciless chemical massacre in Eastern Ghouta”The use of chemical weapons, the murder of innocent people, children, will never have a forgivable side, it is shameful,” he said.The Assad regime has been blamed for a chemical attack Saturday night in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, killing 78 civilians and injuring hundreds of others, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency,Yıldırım said that those who are responsible for the chemical attack will “pay the price,” but without harming the efforts of Turkey, Russia, and Iran to build lasting peace in the region.On April 4, Turkey hosted a tripartite summit on Syria where Turkish, Russian, and Iranian leaders agreed to fight separatism in Syria and also stressed the need for more humanitarian assistance.Germany vows to keep pressure on Russia over SyriaUS, Russian tensionsOn Thursday Russia called for the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session amid tensions over the Douma attack.The meeting is meant to address the possibility of U.S. military action in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to walk back previous comments warning Russia to brace for missiles which he said “will be coming.””Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” Trump said Thursday on Twitter.Later, he told reporters a decision will “be made fairly soon”.U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that Trump has yet to decide on whether he will pursue military action in Syria.British ministers back action to deter Syrian chemical weapon useUS has blood samples verifying chemical attackUK to work with US, France on Douma response