Syrians rally in Damascus in support of Assad's military


The Western countries blame Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the attack which killed dozens, but the Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation have denied any involvement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, while signs emerged that Moscow and Washington want to pull back from the worst crisis in their relations for years.

The United States, France, and Britain on Saturday launched strikes against Bashar al-Assad's government, a week after an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, just east of the capital Damascus. The Western trio swiftly reverted to diplomatic efforts, with leaders facing flak at home over the punitive attack. This is the second time Mr. Trump has ordered a missile attack on Syria.

He said "ten days ago President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria".

United Nations chemical weapons inspectors who arrived in Syria at the weekend have promised to investigate what happened in Douma despite the air strikes against chemical weapons installations. Peskov said only that Russian Federation was against "groundless" accusations about who was responsible for the attack.

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The inspectors will face a hard task, with all key players having pre-empted their findings, including Western powers, which justified the strikes by claiming they already had proof such weapons were used.

According to Petter Lycke, Sweden's representative at the OPCW executive council, Syria and Russian Federation told the inspectors that their safety could not be guaranteed. The suspicion is that the Syrian government previously misled inspectors when it declared its entire chemical weapons stockpile had been disclosed and destroyed.

"We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially and free of any pressure", Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan told AFP.

Following the recent attacks "we all know, Syria has maintained a secret chemical programme since 2013", the ambassador added, referring to the year when Syria finally joined the OPCW and admitted to stockpiling toxic arms.

Last week's missile strikes in Syria were just an attempt by the U.S., which is losing its global leadership, to assert itself in a changing world, Russia's former ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak said.

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"I think it is very hard to say mission accomplished if the mission is to deter the use of chemical weapons", Sen. Military muscle-flexing would only complicate the situation in Syria, and is very likely to push further away any hope of a peaceful end to the long-running civil war by political means.

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, continue, it will inevitably lead to chaos in global relations", the press service of the Kremlin said.

Though the UN has repeatedly warned that the Syrian conflict has no military solution, the United States, along with some its allies, have bypassed the UN Security Council and unilaterally launched military actions against Syria even before any probe was conducted.

Also Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May was to face angry lawmakers for authorizing the strikes without a vote in Parliament.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council overwhelmingly rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of "aggression" by the three allies.

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Russian Federation has used its veto 12 times at the Security Council to block action targeting its Syrian ally. New satellite images show a glimpse of the damage done by the strike.