Russia Is Jamming US Drones in Syria, NBC Reports


Global chemical weapons experts will go to the Syrian town of Douma to investigate a suspected poison gas attack, as the United States and other Western powers consider military action over the incident.

U.S. allies have rallied behind President Donald Trump's warning that Syria would pay a "big price" if it is found to have carried out a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

US President Donald Trump canceled a trip to Latin America on Tuesday, with White House officials explaining he would stay in Washington "to oversee the US response to Syria".

USA ambassador Nikki Haley accused Russian Federation of having "the blood of Syrian children" on its hands after Mr Trump said that "nothing's off the table" in dealing with the alleged outrage.

In a surprise move, Russian Federation put forward a second draft resolution backing the deployment of investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria, according to the text seen by AFP.

Nebenzia, presenting Russia's case that rebels in Douma staged the event for their own ends, painted the incident and its fallout as part of a US-led effort to hurt Russian Federation with a "broad arsenal of methods", including slander, insults and "hawkish rhetoric".

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that adopting the U.S. -drafted resolution was the least that member nations could do.

"The Russian regime, whose hands are also covered in the blood of Syrian children, can not be shamed by pictures of its victims. we've tried that before", Haley said.

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Options include limited military strikes, such as the Tomahawk missiles launched from a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Mediterranean targeting a Syrian airstrip nearly exactly a year ago after an alleged chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib that killed more than 100 people.

In Douma, witnesses spoke of smelling chlorine, while doctors said the symptoms looked more like those of a nerve agent.

"I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you're now developing for Syria", he said after the council failed to approve a third draft resolution on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The alleged chemical attack on Douma would be the worst such incident since Syrian forces were accused of dropping sarin and other chemicals on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun a year ago, killing more than 80 people. "However, no antidote for chlorine exists, if its use is confirmed, and treatment is symptomatic", said World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

Saturday's suspected poison gas attack took place in a rebel-held town amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce.

I don't think that's going to prevent the US and perhaps a few other nations from launching a joint attack meant to send a message. A Navy destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, got underway in the eastern Mediterranean on Monday after completing a port call in Cyprus.

It briefly appeared in the early hours of Monday that action had been taken, as Syrian state media reported missile strikes on an airbase, but blame later fell on Israel which has carried out repeated strikes on regime targets.

Forces from government allies Russian Federation and Iran, as well as fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have a presence at the base, according to the observatory.

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Any response is likely to be coordinated with European allies, principally French President Emmanuel Macron, with whom Trump has spoken twice since the attack occurred.

The OPCW has said the team of experts will deploy to Syria shortly.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied ever having used chemical weapons.

Israel gave the United States advance notice, the official said. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government will help the watchdog investigate the alleged attack.

Mr Trump did not give a time-frame for any retaliatory action, but said the USA could not stand by as such atrocities take place because "we are able to stop it".

Meanwhile on the ground, thousands of militants and their families arrived in rebel-held northwestern Syria after surrendering Douma to government forces.

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