The United States and Russia clashed at the UN Security Council today over a push by Washington to condemn reported chlorine gas attacks in Syria that have left many injured in recent days, including children.
The United States and Russia clashed at the UN Security Council today over a push by Washington to condemn reported chlorine gas attacks in Syria that have left many injured in recent days, including children. US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council that there was “obvious evidence from dozens of victims” to corroborate the chlorine attacks in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta. “Now we have reports that the Assad regime has used chlorine gas against its people multiple times in recent weeks, including just yesterday,” Haley said. The United States proposed that the council adopt a statement condemning “in the strongest terms” the reported February 1 chlorine attack in the town of Douma that injured over 20 civilians including children, according to the draft seen by AFP.
Russia hit back and accused the United States of waging a “propaganda campaign” aimed at falsely blaming President Bashar al-Assad for chemical attacks. “It’s completely clear to us the goal is to basically accuse the Syrian government of chemical weapons use where no perpetrators have been identified,” said Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. Russia proposed an amended draft statement that made no mention of the attacks in Eastern Ghouta and stressed that the reports should be “credibly and professionally investigated,” according to the text seen by AFP.
The United States rejected the changes and no statement was adopted, diplomats said. Haley slammed Russia for balking at a statement that she described as a “simple condemnation of Syrian children being suffocated by chlorine gas.”