Russia and West clash over Syria chemical weapon use at U.N. Security Council
Russia supports a Syrian request to investigate an alleged chemical weapons attack by purported terrorist groups near Aleppo on Tuesday. France and Britain brought up Syrian opposition claims that two chemical weapons attacks occurred on Tuesday, in Damascus and Aleppo. The opposition claims Bashar al-Assad's regime was responsible for the attacks, Reuters reports.
Russia's U.N. envoy strongly disagreed with the idea of dividing focus between multiple incidents, highlighting the gap between Russia's position on Syria and the West's support of the Syrian opposition. The conflict between Russia and the West has left the council powerless to act on the two-year-old civil war in Syria.
"The (Syrian) National Coalition issued a statement today saying that there had been two cases of chemical weapons being used in Syria yesterday, one in the Damascus area and one in the Aleppo area," Philip Parham, Britain's deputy ambassador, said, according to Reuters. "The facts are not clear at the moment. What we have is reports and allegations. They are very serious and they need to be investigated."
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said the allegation by the Syrian opposition was meant solely to stop the investigation into the SNC's use of chemical weapons.
"This (second) allegation was set up on purpose to torpedo the investigation on the real use of chemical weapons which took place in Aleppo," Ja'afari said, according to Reuters. "If there were any good intentions on the part of the French delegation they should have supported the Syrian request (for an investigation)."
Parham responded with questions about the credibility of the Syrian government, Reuters reports.
"It is worth just remembering how many distortions and falsehoods we have been hearing from the Syrian regime over the last two years," Parham said, according to Reuters. "It is the Syrian regime which has stockpiles of chemical weapons and material in Syria."