United Nations chief: Syria tensions 'threaten full-blown military escalation

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

The three countries jointly launched strikes targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons warehouse and a command center related to chemical weapons located west of Homs, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said at a joint news conference with American Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned against any further escalation after the USA, U.K., and France jointly launched airstrikes targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons capabilities in Syria.

A Russian-drafted resolution won 3 votes at the Security Council, far below the 9 votes required for adoption. Eight countries voted against and four abstained.

The Russian measure would have condemned the "aggression" against Syria and demanded that the three allies refrain from any further strike.

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.

Britain argued that the strikes were "both right and legal" to alleviate humanitarian suffering from repeated use of toxic gas in attacks in Syria's seven-year war.

The US, Britain, and France say they launched airstrikes against Syrian chemical sites after obtaining "proof" that poisonous gas was used last weekend in Douma and in which at least 40 people, including children, were killed.

"We continue to observe risky military preparations for an illegal act of force against a sovereign state, in what would constitute a breach of worldwide law", said Vasily Nebenzya, Russian Ambassador to the UN.

Regarding the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria, the spokesman said it is important to establish facts through urgent and transparent investigations by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Moving to return to diplomacy, the United States, France, and Britain on Saturday meanwhile launched a new bid at the UN to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Guterres delayed a planned trip to Saudi Arabia to deal with the aftermath of the military action.

"The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of worldwide peace and security".

The United States, Britain, and France have argued that military action was necessary after Assad's forces had used toxic gases multiple times in violation of global law.

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