20:22 GMT +326 April 2018
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    Lights and smoke are seen during Syrian government bombardment on the rebel-controlled town of Arbin, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on late March 11, 2018

    Russian Embassy Urges US to Refrain from Escalating Conflict in Eastern Ghouta

    © AFP 2018 / Ammar SULEIMAN
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States should take care not to escalate bloodshed in the Syrian capital's suburb of Eastern Ghouta by making irresponsible statements, the Russian Embassy warned.

    "We are again calling on Washington to refrain from irresponsible statements and plans that can lead to an irreversible escalation of the conflict," the Embassy said, adding it would not be distracted by UK's accusations over the poisoning of a former Russian spy. "Syria remains in the focus of the Russian diplomacy."

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that the United States was prepared to act on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria "if we must." Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was outraged by Haley's "bellicose" rhetoric and warned of "necessary" response measures.

    "We warned Washington several days ago against being tempted to use provocations by Syrian militants, who use chemical weapons against civilians, to justify an attack on Damascus. Threats by the US ambassador to the UN… are apparently meant to reconcile everyone with its inevitability," the embassy said.

    The mission stressed it was concerned over whom the United States was backing in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held enclave on the outskirts of Damascus that, the embassy said, had long been controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. The militant group had been shelling Damascus for years, it added.

    Syrian authorities have repeatedly denied the accusations of having a role in the alleged chemical attacks in the country, reiterating that the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had confirmed that it got rid of all chemical weapons in January 2016.

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    Tags:
    rhetoric, escalation, conflict, Eastern Ghouta, Syria, Russia, United States
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