Syria: As talk of war increases, UN focusing on chemical weapons claimBy Saeed Shabazz -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Aug 28, 2013 - 6:32:57 PM
He was responding to a question concerning whether the secretary-general would use his office to speak out against the United States bombing Syria because of an accusation that President Bashar al-Assad used chemicals against the rebels fighting his regime on August 21.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is heading up a team of chemical weapons’ inspectors, who were reportedly shot at on the morning of August 26 by unknown snipers near the Syrian capital city, Damascus.
“The team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle,” the UN said in a statement.
According to Doctors Without Borders, they treated 3,000 patients on the morning of the chemical attack showing symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic nerve agents, and that 355 died.
The White House nor the U.S. State Dept. responded to Final Call requests for comment.
Pres. Bashar al-Assad of Syria in an interview with Russian daily Izvestia called the Western allegations that his troops used the chemicals on August 21 an insult to common sense.”
“Syria would never be a puppet of the West and that Washington had never succeeded in reaching its political aims through war,” stated the Syrian president, adding, “The United States first made the accusations that his government used chemical weapons, and only later started looking for proof.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cast doubts on the “veracity” of U.S. and European claims during an emergency press conference in Moscow. “They have not presented the evidence,” he said, according to RT.com.
The Russian foreign minister said: “The U.S., Britain and other countries have assembled a ‘powerful force’ and are readying their ships and planes for a possible invasion.”
The minister said that the development set the world on a “perilous path” and further warned that “repeating the Iraqi and Libyan scenario” would be a “terrible mistake.”
On three separate occasions Russia and China have vetoed resolutions in the UN Security Council that asked for sanctions against the Syrian regime, or that criticized Mr. al-Assad’s efforts to crush the rebels fighting against him in Syria. The fighting began in 2011, and the UN reports that 100,000 people have been killed with 7.8 million being displaced.
On August 24, Interfax News (IFAX) reported that Russia may reinforce naval grouping in Mediterranean in response to U.S. buildup.
“I am extremely disappointed in Pres. Obama, this is the wrong way to go,” said Lawrence Hamm co-founder of the Newark-based Peoples Organization for Progress. The organization has held several demonstrations in Newark protesting any U.S. involvement in Syria. America is once again, trying to play policeman for the entire world, which is causing economic problems in the country, Mr. Hamm argued.
“The trillions spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be enough to put the 26 million people in the U.S. back to work; and now the administration is willing to spend more millions in Syria,” Mr. Hamm told The Final Call.
Another organization protesting any military action against Syria is the International Action Center.
“Very, very dangerous; and again based on a lie,” offered Sara Flounders co-founder of IAC. “The U.S. has realized they won’t have UN support for an attack against Syria, but that won’t matter; even with the American public saying they don’t want another war, Pres. Obama will go forward,” she said.
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