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16 April 2018, 09:21 | Melissa Porter
UN chief Antonio Guterres | File AP
The Syrian government and its allies have absorbed a US-led attack on Saturday and the targeted sites were evacuated days ago thanks to a warning from Russian Federation, a senior official in a regional alliance that backs Damascus said.
Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a USA strike could lead to a conflict with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.
On the suspected poison gas attack on Douma, Ms Haley said: "We know who did this".
The Russian military said its chemical experts visited Douma shortly after the alleged attack and found no trace of chemical agents in ground samples.
According to the World Health Organisation, during the shelling of Douma on Saturday, "an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals".
During a phone call late on Thursday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump agreed on the need to deter chemical weapon use in Syria. Russian officials denied any involvement during the most violent days of the fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, while journalists and Western intelligence agencies reported tanks pouring across the Russian border into the Ukraine.
"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", said Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria". Those bases come under the protection of Russian air defense units.
Monday: Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council "there was no chemical attack" over the previous weekend.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated a strong warning to the West against military action in Syria, saying any such "adventures" in Syria would increase flows of refugees into Europe.
"Our warnings have been left unheard", he said.
Britain's UN Ambassador Karen Pierce meanwhile rejected a charge by a Russian defence ministry spokesman that Britain was involved in staging a fake chemical weapons attack in Douma.
Russia's Ministry of Defense said it believed the action by the US, UK and France was not in retaliation to the alleged chemical attack in Douma but instead was a reaction to the "success" of the Syrian army in liberating its territory from rebels.
Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, on Friday accused Russian Federation of lies and covering up for Assad, which she said had used chemical weapons at least 50 times in the past seven years of warfare. "Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk", the official said. President Bashar al-Assad's government called the chemical attack reports "fabricated".
The UN Security Council overwhelmingly rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of "aggression" by the United States, United Kingdom and France against Syria.
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