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Paris Calls for UNSC Emergency Meeting to Discuss Alleged Chemical Use in Syria

© AP Photo / Richard DrewUnited Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, on screen, addresses the Security Council, from Jerusalem, at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, on screen, addresses the Security Council, from Jerusalem, at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. - Sputnik International
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PARIS (Sputnik) - Paris is concerned about reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria's Eastern Ghouta and urges to convene the UN Security Council to discuss the situation, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

"I recall that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime and a violation of the international non-proliferation regime. France, as the president of the republic, has repeatedly stated, will assume all the responsibilities in the fight against the spread of chemical weapons. France calls on the United Nations Security Council to convene a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the situation in Eastern Ghouta," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

He also expressed his concern about reports of a new use of chemical weapons.

"I express my outrage in connection with images and information [about alleged chemical attack], which is passed on to several organizations that have witnessed on the scene," Le Drian said.

Le Drian added that France was actively cooperating with its allies and relevant international organizations to verify the reality and origin of these attacks.

He also condemned the blockade of the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian government forces.

"I strongly condemn the continuation of the siege of the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian regime and the bombing, which resulted in a large number of civilian casualties over the past 24 hours," the minister said.

​Earlier in the day, the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation refuted the reports about chemical weapons use in Syria and expressed its readiness to deploy chemical protection specialists after the full liberation of the area to prove the fabricated nature of these statements. The center’s head characterized the allegations as an attempt to hinder the process of withdrawal of Jaysh al-Islam militants from Duma.

READ MORE: Johnson Calls for Urgent Probe Into Reports on Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria

President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. (File) - Sputnik International
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The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the information attacks about the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces aimed to cover up terrorists and justify possible external military action. The ministry also warned against any military action based on far-fetched and fabricated reports, adding that it might have severe consequences.

On Saturday, several media outlets, citing Syrian militants, accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in Douma. In turn, Syria’s SANA news agency reported quoting Syrian officials that these allegations were merely a provocation by Jaysh al-Islam group and other militants to hinder the advance of the Syrian government’s army.

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