Syr­i­ans rally in Da­m­as­cus in sup­port of As­sad against U.S.-led strikes

OPCW starts emer­gency talks on Syria ‘gas at­tack’

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL - By Nima Chit­saz

The con­tro­versy around the United States-led at­tack on Syria grows day by day. Crit­ics blame Wash­ing­ton, Lon­don and Paris for tak­ing a uni­lat­eral mea­sure against a sovereign coun­try and a mem­ber of the United Na­tions in a U.S.-led at­tack under what they claim to be a chem­i­cal at­tack on Syr­ian peo­ple.

Many an­a­lysts find such claim very strange, ar­gu­ing that af­ter years of for­eign in­sti­gated war the gov­ern­ment of the Syr­ian Arab Repub­lic Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad had the up­per hand in mop­ping out the Tak­firi ter­ror­ists and peo­ple who were forced to flee their home and prop­er­ties due to the mas­sacre of the Is­lamic State in Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL/Daesh) ter­ror­ist out­fit and the likes, were re­turn­ing back to their home­towns with joy.

How come, just on the brink of the ter­ror­ists’ to­tal de­feat an­other chem­i­cal at­tack takes place and gives the ter­ror­ists a mo­men­tum to flee or re­in­force and why would the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces gas their com­pa­tri­ots af­ter what both sides had been through, the gov­ern­ment forces fight­ing ter­ror­ist Wa­habi out­fits and the Syr­ian peo­ple were forced to leave be­hind ev­ery­thing, not just their home, car, shop, school, gar­den, flower boxes, fam­ily and loved ones, or a leg and arm or per­haps their pre­cious life, they left their soul. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will bur­den the con­se­quences for years to come.

An­a­lyst also say why the con­science of the world was asleep when the slain Iraqi dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein gassed the de­fense­less Iraqi peo­ple in Hal­abja.

The Hal­abja chem­i­cal at­tack also known as the Hal­abja Mas­sacre or Bloody Fri­day, took place on March 16,

1988, dur­ing the clos­ing days of the Iran–Iraq War in the Kur­dish city of Hal­abja in Iraq. The at­tack killed be­tween 3,200 and 5,000 peo­ple and in­jured 7,000 to

10,000 more, most of them civil­ians. The Hal­abja at­tack has been rec­og­nized as geno­cide con­ducted by the Iraqi regime under Sad­dam.

How­ever and in de­fi­ance of what the bi­ased me­dia say the sup­port­ers of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad have poured into the streets in the cap­i­tal Da­m­as­cus in sup­port of their gov­ern­ment af­ter the United States and its al­lies fired more than 100 mis­siles at Syria.

Honk­ing car horns and wav­ing Syr­ian flags the crowd cheered on As­sad, cel­e­brat­ing what they see as a tri­umph in re­sis­tance to the U.S.-led airstrikes.

The airstrikes were car­ried out in re­sponse to an al­leged chem­i­cal weapons at­tack in the Syr­ian town of Douma last week.

Mean­time, the United Na­tions chem­i­cal watch­dog has started emer­gency talks on the al­leged chem­i­cal at­tack in Syria’s Douma, diplo­matic sources say.

The Bri­tish, Rus­sian and French am­bas­sadors to the Nether­lands are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the closed-door talks which are in ses­sion at the head­quar­ters of the 192-mem­ber Or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

The talks come as OPCW in­spec­tors ar­rived in Da­m­as­cus on Satur­day at the re­quest of the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment to de­ter­mine whether chem­i­cals were used in Douma near the cap­i­tal Da­m­as­cus.

Mon­day’s meet­ing of the body’s gov­ern­ing ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil, which con­sists of 41 states, was called by its chair­man, Bangladeshi am­bas­sador Sheikh Mo­hammed Be­lal.

The al­leged chem­i­cal at­tack was used as an ex­cuse by the United States, Britain and France to launch an airstrike on tar­gets near Da­m­as­cus and Homs be­fore any in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted.

The West­ern trio fired more than 100 mis­siles at Syria in the early hours of Satur­day, for the de­clared pur­pose of crip­pling the county’s chem­i­cal pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties over the al­leged gas at­tack.

Rus­sia vows ‘not to in­ter­fere’ in OPCW work in Syria

Also on Mon­day, Rus­sia vowed not to in­ter­fere with the OPCW fact-find­ing mis­sion in Syria.

“Rus­sia con­firms its com­mit­ment to en­sure safe (sic) and se­cu­rity of the mis­sion and will not in­ter­fere in its work,” the Rus­sian Em­bassy in The Hague posted on its twit­ter ac­count.

The em­bassy also cen­sured the U.S., not­ing that Satur­day’s bomb­ing of Syria was a bid “to un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity” of the mis­sion.

The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment sur­ren­dered its chem­i­cal weapons stock­pile dur­ing a process mon­i­tored by the OPCW in 2013.

As­sad’s aide: Syr­ian de­fenses smarter than U.S. mis­siles

The po­lit­i­cal ad­viser to Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar alAs­sad has praised Syria’s air de­fenses for in­ter­cept­ing most of the mis­siles fired by the U.S. and its al­lies at the coun­try on Satur­day.

Bouthaina Shaa­ban said in re­marks pub­lished on the Le­banon-based al-Mayadeen web­site that the vic­tory marks the be­gin­ning of the end of the Amer­i­can em­pire.

“The break­ing of their evil ag­gres­sion is the be­gin­ning of the van­ish­ing of their em­pire, which will be re­placed by new forces which re­spects the hu­man­ity, sovereignty and safety of peo­ples,” she said.

Tur­key re­jects Macron’s com­ments on AnkaraMoscow rift af­ter Syria strikes

Else­where, Turk­ish Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bekir Bozdag has slammed re­marks by French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron that a re­cent U.S.-led mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Syria drove a wedge be­tween Ankara and Moscow.

“Tur­key’s Syria pol­icy is not a pol­icy of be­ing on the same side or be­ing op­posed to an­other coun­try,” Bozdag said on Mon­day.

The re­ac­tion came af­ter Macron said the airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain on a num­ber of Syria’s mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties had a tan­gi­ble re­sult and that was a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween Tur­key and Rus­sia.

“With these strikes and this in­ter­ven­tion, we sep­a­rated the Rus­sians and the Turks on this is­sue... the Turks con­demned the chem­i­cal strike and sup­ported the oper­a­tion that we con­ducted,” the French pres­i­dent said in ref­er­ence to an al­leged chem­i­cal at­tack on April 7 in Syria’s Douma, which the West claims was car­ried out by the Da­m­as­cus gov­ern­ment. The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment has re­jected the al­le­ga­tion, say­ing the U.S. and its al­lies used the sus­pected chem­i­cal at­tack to launch airstrikes on Syria.

Bozdag, how­ever, said Tur­key’s pol­icy on Syria re­mained un­changed even af­ter the Satur­day strikes, adding that Ankara dif­fered with Rus­sia and Iran, an­other ma­jor backer of Syria’s fight against ter­ror, and even the U.S. on the sit­u­a­tion in Syria.

He told re­porters in Qatar that Tur­key “has dif­fer­ent poli­cies to Iran and Rus­sia,” adding, “Un­til now, has the pol­icy put for­ward by Tur­key changed? No.”

Cavusoglu: Tur­key-Rus­sia ties too strong to be bro­ken

In re­ac­tion to Macron’s re­marks, Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that Tur­key’s ties with Rus­sia were too strong to be bro­ken by France’s pres­i­dent.

“We can think dif­fer­ently but they (our re­la­tions with Rus­sia) are not so weak that the French pres­i­dent can break them,” Cavusoglu said at a press con­fer­ence with NATO (North At­lantic Treaty Or­ga­ni­za­tion) Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg on Mon­day.

“We have strong re­la­tions with Rus­sia,” Cavusoglu added. “But our re­la­tions with Rus­sia are not an al­ter­na­tive to NATO re­la­tions or our al­lies.”

Bri­tish La­bor Party de­clares Syria strike ‘un­law­ful’

Britain’s op­po­si­tion La­bor Party also has re­leased an ex­pert opin­ion about the re­cent U.S.-led air strikes against Syria, de­scrib­ing them as un­law­ful.

Tom Wat­son, the deputy La­bor leader, re­leased the five-page le­gal opin­ion from Dapo Akande, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic in­ter­na­tional law at Ox­ford Univer­sity.

A sum­mary of Akande’s con­clu­sions were pub­lished on Mon­day by the Guardian news­pa­per.

“Con­trary to the po­si­tion of the (Bri­tish) gov­ern­ment, nei­ther the UN char­ter nor cus­tom­ary in­ter­na­tional law per­mits mil­i­tary ac­tion on the ba­sis of the doc­trine of hu­man­i­tar­ian in­ter­ven­tion,” the opin­ion said.

“The le­gal po­si­tion ad­vanced by the gov­ern­ment ig­nores the struc­ture of the in­ter­na­tional law rules re­lat­ing to the use of force,” it added.

EU FMs set to dis­cuss Syria, ten­sions with Rus­sia

The de­vel­op­ments fol­low as For­eign Min­is­ters from the Euro­pean Union (EU) are set to re­view the bloc’s for­eign pol­icy on is­sues of com­mon con­cern, in­clud­ing the Syria cri­sis, and pos­si­bly take a united stand against Rus­sia amid diplo­matic ten­sions be­tween the two sides.

The for­eign min­is­ter from the 28 EU mem­ber states gath­ered on Mon­day in Lux­em­bourg to dis­cuss the de­vel­op­ments in Syria.

The EU for­eign min­is­ters are said to be di­vided in their views about the le­gal­ity of the mis­sile strikes on Syria, and reach­ing a uni­fied pol­icy in re­gard to the in­ci­dent could be a tough chal­lenge.

France and Britain have de­fended the at­tack on Syria, some were neu­tral, and those at the other end of the scale were op­posed to the strikes, pos­si­bly due to wor­ries re­gard­ing Rus­sia’s re­ac­tion.

Moscow, which has close prox­im­ity to Europe and sup­plies gas to the con­ti­nent, has warned Euro­pean lead­ers against un­known con­se­quences of tak­ing an­tiDa­m­as­cus mea­sures.

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