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The latest: the UN ambassador to the UN denies the Russian accusation

Updated at 11:53 a.m., Friday, April 13, 2018


BEIRUT (AP) – The latest developments in Syria (all local times):

7:45 pm

The Britain's ambassador denies vehemently claim that the United Kingdom organized a suspected chemical attack in Syria last weekend, calling it "strange" and "a flagrant lie".

Karen Pierce said she wanted to "categorically declare … that Britain has no participation and that they never have a stake in the use of a chemical weapon."


Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation," but gave no details or provided evidence.

"This is grotesque," Pierce told reporters as he left an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The meeting was called by Russia to address the threat of US military action in response to the attack last weekend in the suburb of Douma in Damascus.

He added: "It is one of the worst false news we have seen of Russian machine propaganda."

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7:15 pm

The Hezbollah leader is telling President Donald Trump: "His tweets do not scare us"

Speaking in an election campaign in Beirut on Friday, Hassan Nasrallah describes Trump's threats to send missiles to Syria as "Hollywood."

"All these tweets and threats (…) do not scare Syria, Iran, Russia or any of the resistance movements in the region," he said.

Nasrallah said there is no logical proof for accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Douma.

"Someone cornered could use chemicals, but why should a victor do it?" he added.

Speaking via satellite to supporters in Beirut on Friday, Nasrallah also called the alleged attack of chemical weapons in Douma a "theater."

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6:50 pm

Leader of Lebanese militant The Hezbollah group says that an Israeli air strike on an air base in central Syria that killed seven Iranians is a "historical error".

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says that Monday's attack on air base T4 marks a new stage that puts Israel in a state of "direct confrontation" with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran, Russia and Syria have blamed Israel for the air strike, which followed a suspected chemical attack in a rebel-held city near Damascus that was attributed by Western powers to the Syrian government. Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the attack.

Nasrallah said that the "selective killing" of Iranians was an act of "serious foolishness".

Speaking via satellite to supporters in Beirut on Friday, Nasrallah also called the alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma "theater".

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6:20 pm

The United States ambassador to the United Nations says that President Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria."

Nikki Haley said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council convened by Russia that if the United States and its allies decide to act in Syria it will be to defend "a fundamental international norm that benefits all nations": prohibition of the use of chemical weapons.

He said on Friday that "the United States estimates that (President Bashar) Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times."

As for last week's poisonous gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Hal ey said: "We know who did this, our allies know who did this, Russia can complain as much as it wants about false news, but nobody is buying their lies and their cover-ups. "

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6 pm

The Russian army says that an alleged chemical attack in Syria was organized and led by Great Britain.

First responders and activists claimed that a chemical attack by the Syrian government killed more than 40 people in the city of Douma, causing international outrage and urging Washington and its allies to consider a military response. The spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov, issued statements from doctors at Douma hospital who said that a group of people with video cameras entered the hospital and shouted that their patients had been beaten with chemical weapons. and causing panic. The doctors said none of the patients was injured by chemicals.

Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation," but did not provide details or provide evidence.

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5:40 p.m.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says that the Middle East is in such "chaos" today that it has become a threat to international peace and security, and Syria "represents the most serious threat."

The UN chief told an emergency meeting The UN Security Council on Friday called on Russia to ensure that the highly volatile situation runs the risk of "escalation, fragmentation and division as far as possible with deep regional and global ramifications ".

Guterres said that "the Cold War has returned – with revenge but with a difference," because the safeguards that handled the risk of escalation in the past "no longer seem to be present."

He cited the Palestinian-Israeli division, the Sunni-Shiite division "evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean," and other divisive factors reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts.

But Guterres said that Syria today is the most serious, and that "there is no military solution to the conflict."

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4:30 pm [19659010] The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to coordinate their actions to prevent a military escalation in Syria.

An alleged attack of poisonous gas in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, which killed more than 40 people, has attracted international outrage and led the United States and its allies to consider a military attack on Syria. It is reported that France is one of the main sponsors of a possible strike that Russia strongly opposes.

The Kremlin said on Friday in its reading of the phone call between the two presidents that Putin and Macron agreed to ask their foreign policy chiefs to "stay in close contact" to "de-escalate" the situation in Syria.

Putin was summoned to urge a "thorough and objective investigation" into the reports of the chemical weapons attack. The Kremlin said both Putin and Macron praised the upcoming visit of the international chemical research mission to Syria and pledged to join forces to provide the necessary assistance to that mission.

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4:05 pm

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concern" over the deteriorating situation in Syria in a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron calls for dialogue between France and Russia to "continue and intensify" bring peace and stability to Syria.

"Lamented" the Russian veto in the UN Security Council that prevented a "united and firm response" after a presumed gas attack last week in Douma, Syria.

Macron said on French national television on Thursday that France has evidence that the Syrian government launched gaseous chlorine attacks and crossed a line that could lead to French air strikes.

The United States, France and Brita have been consulting about the launching of a military attack in Syria.

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3:30 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has urged calm and efforts to restore peace in Syria during separate calls this week with the US. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Erdogan also told reporters on Friday that tensions between the two countries over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma now appear to have subsided.

Erdogan says: "What he insisted tenaciously on the fact that it is not right for tensions to heat up, we made demands on the restoration of peace and the end of the tragedy"

The Turkish leader also said that he sent video recordings about the "painful and disastrous scenes" in the east of Ghouta and Douma to Putin through an envoy of the Russian leader. Erdogan did not give more details.

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3:20 pm

The Foreign Minister of France canceled trips to Albania and Slovenia due to increased global tensions around Syria.

The United States, France and Great Britain are in extensive consultations about the launching of a military attack on Syria in retaliation for alleged chemical weapons attacks.

The Foreign Minister of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec, said in a statement to the official news agency STA that "due to the crisis in Syria," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian canceled his planned visit to Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania said that Drian canceled a trip there scheduled on Friday "because of international developments in the field of security."

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he has evidence of that the government of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, was behind the attacks of chlorine in recent days. The Syrian government denies responsibility.

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2:35 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the use of chemical weapons against civilians in a suburb of Damascus is "unforgivable", but says that Turkey urges all parties to refrain from actions that will cause more unrest in Syria.

Yildirim on Friday again condemned the "atrocious" attack in Douma and said that the perpetrators should "pay a price".

"However … any action that leads to the failure or damage activities led by Turkey, Iran and Russia towards a lasting peace should be avoided," Yildirim said. He referred to the efforts of the three countries to reduce violence in Syria.

Syrian opposition activists and doctors say an alleged gas attack last week killed more than 40 people in Douma. The Syrian government has denied the accusations.

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1:35 pm

The Russian Foreign Minister claimed that an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma last weekend was fabricated with the help of an unspecified foreign intelligence agency .

Sergey Lavrov says that Russian experts have inspected the site of the alleged attack in Douma, just east of Damascus, and found no trace of chemical weapons. He says Moscow has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication."

Lavrov spoke with reporters in Moscow on Friday.

He said that "the intelligence agencies of a state that is now struggling to lead a Russo-phobic campaign involved in that fabrication". He did not elaborate or give a name to the state.

The attack caused international outrage and led the United States and its allies to consider a military attack on Syria, something that Moscow has warned vigorously against.


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