‘UN aside, US will respond to Assad chemical attack’
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
The U.S. is “determined” to respond to the Assad regime’s latest use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, regardless of whether the UN Security Council acts or not, a top American diplomat said on April 9.
“We are beyond appeals to conscience. We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told an emergency Security Council briefing on the attack in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma district on April 7 that killed at leat 78 civilians according to Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.
“History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria. Either way, the United States will respond,” she said.
“The Russian regime, whose hands are also covered in the blood of Syrian children, cannot be shamed by pictures of its victims. We must not overlook Russia and Iran’s roles in enabling the Assad regime’s murderous destruction,” Haley added, pointing the finger at Moscow for supporting Assad.
‘International security’ under threat
The meeting followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that the decision on a U.S. response would come within the next day or two.
The meeting was called by the U.S. and eight other members of the Council to hold the Assad regime accountable and to demand an investigation and access to victims.
During the meeting, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura also said recent developments show more than ever before the dangers that the secretary-general has warned of before.
“For the first time I have reached a point in which I am expressing concern for international security, not only regional or national or Syrian security,” he said.
He argued the Syria conflict threatens international security due to conflicts of interest of regional and global powers which could cause unimaginable destructive consequences.
After facing severe criticism of Russia from fellow Security Council members, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia slammed the U.S. and other members for “fishing in the murky waters” of the Middle East, causing further chaos there.
“Everywhere you go, everything you touch, you leave behind only chaos. You try to fish in those murky waters, but the only thing you catch is mutants,” Nebenzia said, referring to the U.S.
Threatening Washington, he added that there would be “serious consequences” if military action is launched in Syria.
British Ambassador Karen Pierce also told the meeting that the U.K. initially wants to see an investigation of the attack by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Pentagon offers options
The Pentagon is offering President Donald Trump a series of military options to respond to the Assad regime.
“Our role is to provide the president with the options. In light of this horrific incident, that is where we’re looking at potential military options and providing them to the president,” Col. Patrick Ryder, spokesman for the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Anadolu Agency on April 9.
Describing the images of civilians injured by chemical weapons as “horrific,” Ryder said the military option is definitely something that the U.S. is looking at and that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Francis Dunford already met with Trump in this regard.
He declined to give more details about the options, saying that had to wait until the president makes an announcement.