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U.S. seeks U.N. emergency session and probe into Syria attack
Los Angeles Times
By Tracy Wilkinson
The Trump administration on Monday urged the United Nations to open an investigation into an alleged chemical attack by Syrian government forces that killed scores of civilians outside Damascus.
The United States also joined eight other countries to call for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council for later Monday to consider the attack. Yet that body is unlikely to go beyond words of condemnation because Russia, which backs Syria’s President Bashar Assad, is expected to veto any Security Council resolution for bolder action.
U.S. officials circulated a draft U.N. resolution on Monday to create an independent commission to investigate the attack on Saturday. More than 40 people were killed in Douma, the last rebel-held town in the eastern Ghouta enclave outside Damascus.
First responders and pro-opposition rescuers said many of the dead appeared to have suffocated from poison gas. President Trump suggested that Syria, Iran or Russia, or all three, were to blame, and said he would decide how to respond within 48 hours. Moscow said reports of a poison gas attack were a hoax.
Syrian government forces are believed to have used chemical weapons numerous times without consequence, according to U.N. officials. Last year, Trump retaliated with a missile strike on a Syrian airfield following a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens.