Tensions are escalating between the US and Russia as Washington says Moscow “ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks,” in reference to a reported chemical attack the US blames on the Syrian government.
“These reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the international community,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Sunday. “The United States continues to use all efforts available to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable… The Assad regime and its backers must be held accountable and any further attacks prevented immediately.”
Russia has dismissed as “bogus” reports of the chemical gas attack in Eastern Ghouta, while Damascus maintains that it has not launched any chemical attacks.
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
Nauert further called on the Kremlin to stop supporting the Syrian government.
“The United States calls on Russia to end this unmitigated support immediately and work with the international community to prevent further, barbaric chemical weapons attacks,” she said.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is to blame along with Iran.
Iran has strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons by any country in any part of the world, saying claims about a chemical attack by the Syrian government in Eastern Ghouta are "conspiratorial and illogical."
Trump, military advisors clashing over Syria
The US, meanwhile, is suggesting that all options are on the table as White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said nothing should be taken "off the table.”
The report came not long after Trump called for withdrawal of US troops from war-ravaged Syria.
Trump has reportedly been butting heads with his military advisers who disagree with immediate withdrawal.
A similar debate over Afghanistan finally ended with Trump acquiescing to indefinite presence of US military forces there.
UNSC emergency meeting
The British mission to the United Nations has said in a tweet that the issue is being taken to the UN Security Council.
“UK, France, US, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, Kuwait, Peru and Cote d’Ivore have called an emergency meeting of #UNSC to discuss reports of chemical weapons attack in #Syria. Meeting expected on Monday,” it said.