Syria strikes prove direct US-militants ties: Iran president


Together, they can contribute to the intensification of a political settlement and restoration of Syria and Iraq, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site".

UN Security Council has rejected Russia-sponsored resolution seeking condemnation of joint military air strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapon attack.

A joint United Nations-OPCW mission concluded that troops under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons several times in recent years, including in a sarin attack a year ago in the town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed almost 100 people.

The comments came during a closed-door meeting at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, convened after an April 7 attack in the town of Douma, outside the Syrian capital, in which dozens of people were allegedly killed with poison gas.

The Russian top diplomat added that Washington, London and Paris told Moscow that there were purported "irrefutable facts" as for the suspected chemical attack, so that, they could justify the strikes that they had delivered earlier in the day.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov went as far as to say the inspectors were delayed because of the Western air strikes on Syria in retaliation to the chemical attack.

Earlier, Britain's delegation to the OPCW accused Russian Federation and the Syrian government of preventing the worldwide watchdog's inspectors from reaching Douma.

In the aftermath, the remnants of the rebel army evacuated, handing Assad one of the biggest victories in a war that has killed about half a million people and laid waste to whole cities.

Lavrov also denied the use of chemical weapons in Douma and said the event did not take place.

It raised concerns from Syrian opposition groups and forces that evidence of chemical weapons use might no longer be found.

The US, the United Kingdom and France launched a series of attacks on specific targets in the war-torn country and CNN reported that the coalition forces claimed that they were targeting a research laboratory and two storage facilities which were believed to be the country's chemical weapons programme sites.

Responding to Haley's remarks, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of a Russian parliamentary defence committee, said Moscow was ready for the penalties.

Although US President Donald Trump had declared: "Mission accomplished" after the strikes, US Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie at the Pentagon acknowledged that elements of the program remained and he could not guarantee that Syria would be unable to conduct a chemical attack in the future.

Tensions before the strikes were high, as the potential of the U.S. or its allies hitting Russian forces could lead to an escalation of the conflict.

Her office said she planned to tell them the strikes were "in Britain's national interest" and were carried out to stop further suffering from chemical weapons attacks.

Britain has said there are no plans for future strikes against Syria, but Johnson warned Assad that all options would be considered if chemical weapons were used against Syrians again.