Following reports of a new, deadly chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime in Syria, the United States and eight other nations called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, The Hill reported Sunday.
Russia, which has backed Syria militarily, and holds veto power in the Security Council, dismissed the reports of the chemical attack as “fabricated.”
“Yet again, there are reports of what appears to be a chemical weapons attack in Syria. Unfortunately, chemical weapons use to injure and kill innocent Syrian civilians has become all too common. The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” said Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a statement released by U.S. mission to the UN.
The U.S. is calling for an independent investigation into the incident.
The New York Times reported Sunday that more than 40 people were killed by an apparent chemical attack in Douma. Videos of the aftermath showed dead men, women, and children, apparently suffocated, many with white foam on their faces. According to rescue groups, survivors came to the hospital with burning eyes and breathing difficulty.
“Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world,” President Donald Trump tweeted early Sunday. “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price …”
In April of last year, the U.S. launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase following a chemical weapons attack with the deadly nerve agent, sarin, in northern Syria. Subsequent reports of chemical weapons, including during the last month’s assault by the regime on Eastern Ghouta, have not provoked any American response. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said at the time that Trump had “full political maneuver room” to decide on a response to Syria’s use of deadly chemicals.
[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube]