Accusations fly as UNSC debates possible new chemical weapons attack in Syria

World Today

Another possible chemical weapons attack in Syria. Aid workers said at least nine people were injured by chlorine gas in Idlib province.

It’s the scene of fierce fighting between Syrian government troops, Turkish forces and Syrian rebels.

CGTN’s Nick Harper has more on a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss developments.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley accused Russia of shielding the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. 

In November Russia voted against continuing the Joint Investigative Mechanism, an inquiry run by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Russia’s veto came after the investigation blamed Bashar al-Assad’s government of carrying out sarin attacks on its own people. 

Russia has since proposed a new investigation team. But Haley said the proposal was not impartial, and would see Moscow “cherry pick” investigators and review the team’s findings before deciding what is officially reported – something she said would be a “whitewash.” 

Her Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia however said Haley was “artificially heating up” the chemical weapons issue. 

And accused the US of a “propagandist campaign” and using the meeting to “slander” Russia. 

China meanwhile supported the establishment of a new Joint Investigative Mechanism. 

Ambassador Wu Haitao said it was “quite critical” to bring perpetrators to justice and prevent future chemical attacks. 

The Security Council meeting follows reports of another suspected chemical weapons attack in Idlib province on Sunday, in a rebel-held area in the northwest of the country. 

The United States has put forward a statement for the Council to jointly condemn recent chemical weapon attacks. 

But Russia said it cannot support it in its current form as it “basely accuses” the Syria government of carrying out the attacks.