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Show your cards on Syria, Russia tells Trump

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 April 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Moscow, April 6: Russia on Thursday challenged US President Dold Trump to set out his strategy on Syria after he declared that an apparent chemical weapons attack had transformed his views on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. On Wednesday, Trump said the attack on Tuesday against Syrian civilians that killed over 85 people “crossed a lot of lines for me” and now Syria was his “responsibility”. When asked if Moscow would reconsider its backing for Assad, Russia’s Foreign Ministry instead challenged the US to show its cards. “Russia’s approach to Assad is clear. He is the legal President of an independent state. What is the US approach?” Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told CNN.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned against “sp judgments”. “It’s indeed a very mecing course of events, dangerous and horrible crime. However, sticking labels on everyone, prematurely, is not a correct thing to do, in our opinion,” Peskov told the media.

Russia is Syria’s most powerful ally and has provided the military might behind Assad’s grip on the country, which plunged into civil war six years ago.

Trump has maintained that the bloodshed in Syria was the result of weak policy under former President Barack Obama’s administration, reports CNN. Several countries, including Britain and Turkey, have now said they believe the Syrian regime carried out Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack.

France said it would continue to push a resolution through the UN Security Council that would force the Syrian government to provide flight logs from the day of the attack. Russia on Wednesday claimed that the deaths were caused by a Syrian regime airstrike on a chemical munitions depot held by a “terrorist” group.

Survivors of a deadly chemical attack say they were gassed as they slept, a media report said. They also described that the gas bombs were dropped from planes, directly contradicting the government’s version of events. Abdul Hamid Youssef told the CNN that the attack shook him from a deep sleep. He awoke, finding it difficult to breathe. Leaping from bed, Youssef scrambled to make sure his nine-month-old twins were still alive.

Apparently unharmed, he passed them to his wife and told her to stay in the house. Rushing outside to check on his parents next door, Youssef passed people staggering and falling in the street, the news report said. Youssef and many members of his extended family live on the northern edge of Khan Sheikhoun, a town in Idlib province, where the attack took place.

On Tuesday, airstrikes battered an area near their local bakery, meters from Youssef’s home.

Youssef arrived in his parents’ house to find his two brothers dead. Panicked, he rushed back to his home to check on his wife and babies. “There was foam coming out of their mouths, there were convulsions. They had all been on the floor,” Youssef told CNN on Wednesday, sobbing. “My kids, Ahmad and Aya, and my wife... they were all martyred. My entire family’s gone.”

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Thursday that the Syrian airstrike on the Islamic State-held town of Khan Sheikhoun struck a rebel depot containing chemical materials, and denied that the air force dropped poisonous gas bombs. At a press conference held to comment on the intertiol accusation that Syria allegedly fired toxic gas on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday, al-Moallem said the news reports were “lies”.

He said it is not logical to use chemical weapons at a time when the Syrian government was optimistic that the intertiol community was becoming closer to realising the extent of conspiracy against Syria. He also asked how could the world powers be so quick to hurl accusation against the Syrian government within an hour of the attack.(IANS)

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