Secretary-General's statement on Syria

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"Let us not forget that, ultimately, our efforts must be about ending the bad suffering of the Syrian people", said Guterres in a statement.

The draft resolution expresses support for a fact-finding mission by the OPCW and requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres separately dispatch a "high-level disarmament mission" with the task of addressing "all outstanding issues on the use of chemical weapons once and for all".

After the United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime on April 14, 2018 in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that France fired cruise missiles from frigates in the Mediterranean and deployed fighter jets from home bases as part of its strikes.

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The UN chief spoke by phone with the ambassadors from the five permanent council members - Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States - to express his "deep concern" about the deadlock at the council over Syria. I urge all Member States to show restraint in these risky circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."The joint operation by the USA and its allies was in response to a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma last week".

Similarly, a competing draft - penned by Russian Federation - which would have established the mechanism for one year as well but would have given the Security Council the responsibility to assign accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, was also not adopted. The suffering it causes is horrendous.

Last October, the Council failed to renew the mandate of a UN-OPCW body, known as the Joint Inspection Mechanism, which was established three years ago.

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But during the weekend, images of dead and sick women and children again circulated following another alleged chemical attack. But Russia's Defence Ministry said the majority of missiles fired were intercepted by Syrian government air defence systems.

In his briefing to the Council, the United Nations chief warned that "increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation". I reiterate: "there is no military solution to the conflict", he said.

'Let us not forget that, ultimately, our efforts must be to end the bad suffering of the Syrian people'.

The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) said it has received reports that an estimated 500 patients at Syrian health facilities have exhibited signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals, after the shelling of a Damascus suburb over the weekend.

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