Russia Criticizes US Pretexts to Stay in Syria

Russia Criticizes US Pretexts to Stay in Syria

Earlier, Russia repeatedly criticized the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) that was conducting a probe into chemical attacks in Syria under the UNSC mandate.

Washington and its allies have blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation. Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. draft "has no chances to be passed.". The panel's mandate expires at midnight.

Diplomats in Turtle Bay predicted that Russian Federation would veto the USA measure, which would be the 10th time Moscow has employed this power to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

However, in recent times, we have heard from the Pentagon and the special representative for the fight against ISIS that despite the defeat by Syrian forces of that terrorist group the United States has not withdrawn its military presence in the Levantine nation, said the head of Russian diplomacy, stressing that Damascus has always called that deployment illegal and against the will of the Syrian people.

Russian Federation and the United States were on a collision course ahead of a UN Security Council vote on Thursday on the fate of a UN-led probe to determine who is behind chemical attacks in Syria's six-year war.

The JIM's leaders said they were "confident" that Syria's government was responsible for an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 using sarin that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others who survived "acute exposure" to the nerve agent.

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Washington and its allies have blamed Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation.

Trump said on Twitter that the joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which decided who is to blame, was needed to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons.

A resolution requires nine votes to be adopted at the council, but five countries - Russia, Britain, China, France and the United States - can block adoption with their veto power.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre urged council members to "please think twice before throwing it away, because this would be a major setback for the fundamentals of our common security".

On Tuesday, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that the two superpowers were still negotiating.

The JIM experts also said they were "confident" the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for an attack at Um Hosh in Aleppo in September 2016 using mustard gas.

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