Russia Says It Will Not Interfere With Syria Chemical Weapons Probe

Russia claims Syira chemical attack was staged by United Kingdom

The United States will want to maintain a dialogue with Russia about strategic stability following Western missile strikes on Syria, Russian news agencies cited a Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying on Sunday.

She said that it is "entirely up to Assad" whether the missile attack on Syria was a one-time response to the suspected chemical attack by Syrian forces a week ago that killed more than 40 people or part of a continuing allied military effort.

The military action is not about intervening in Syria's civil war or changing its government, she said.

OPCW inspectors have been attacked on two previous missions to the sites of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Moscow blamed the delay on the air strikes, in which the United States, France and Britain targeted what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities.

The confused announcement and walk-back outlined in the report came just days after the USA, along with the United Kingdom and France, ordered strikes on Syrian facilities in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack and as the Trump administration has ramped up criticism of Russian Federation for its support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

President Bashar al-Assad's government said on Monday it was ready to cooperate and facilitate the work of the OPCW team, but did not say when they would go to the site.

The Russian Foreign Minister asked: "Why the United States and its allies had carried out air strikes the day before global inspectors were due to arrive at the site?"

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The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday accused Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend, a bold charge that comes amid Moscow's stern warnings to the West against striking Syria.

"Chemical weapons were used on Syrian men, women, and children in #Douma". It said Syria's chemical weapons programme had been set back years.

Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013 and submit to OPCW inspections to avert United States retaliation after a suspected nerve gas attack in Douma killed hundreds of people.

A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria to investigate the Douma incident and was expected to visit the town.

Haley said the three USA goals for accomplishing its mission are making sure chemical weapons are not used in a way that could harm US national interests, defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group and having a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing. "Russia and Syria must co-operate". "Therefore allegations of this towards Russian Federation are groundless".

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war and pitted the United States and its allies against Russian Federation, which itself intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad.

She said, "These strikes are about deterring the barbaric use of chemical weapons in Syria and beyond".

On Monday, EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss the latest developments in Syria. Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said at a Security Council emergency meeting requested by Russia.

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