Syria tensions can lead to 'full-blown military escalation', warns United Nations chief

Russian Defense Official: No Evidence Exists of Syrian Chemical Attack

Russian Defense Official: No Evidence Exists of Syrian Chemical Attack

On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis admitted that the United States had no proof of the chemical weapons attack which is being used to justify calls for military escalation: "We are looking for the actual evidence", Mattis said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said no decision had been taken to launch strikes and stressed Washington was taking time to assess the implications of possible military action after Russia warned it could lead to a risky US-Russian war.

Macron said Thursday on French national television France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and has crossed a line that could prompt French airstrikes.

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons", she said, adding that Washington estimated Assad had used toxic gas at least 50 times during the seven-year war.

A global chemical weapons watchdog says it has deployed fact-finding teams to investigate a suspected chemical attack that hit Douma, a town in Syria's Eastern Ghouta and the last rebel stronghold.

Mr. Guterres said that he called the ambassadors of the five permanent Council members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - on Wednesday to reiterate his "deep concern about the risks of the current impasse" and stressed the need to "avoid the situation spiraling out of control".

This situation has repercussions beyond the region and has ramifications in the entire world: the Cold War has returned, he said when intervening in the Security Council.

The continued reports of chemical weapons use in Syria are outrageous, he said.

According to a statement of the French presidency, Macron calls for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria.

The COI recalled that it has documented 34 incidents of chemical weapons use "by various parties to the conflict".

Russia, in addition to tossing out unproven allegations against Britain, alleged the West was feigning outrage over the attack as a cover for a plan to overthrow Assad's government.

Guterres urged the Security Council to "act responsibly in these unsafe circumstances".

Since last weekend, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said: "The (Syrian) regime has reached a point of no return".

"The trip to Damascus is scheduled soon, the Syrian authorities have pledged to resolve all technical issues related to accommodating the experts and their arrival to the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta", the source said. "For eight long years the people of Syria have endured suffering upon suffering".

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