3 September 2013, 12:47

Military strike on Syria will affect whole system of international relations - Russia's Foreign Ministry

Министерство иностранных дел российской федерации МИД РФ герб

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A military strike on Syria will be wrong and will affect the whole system of international relations, envoy of the Russian foreign minister for Middle East settlement Sergei Vershinin said in the Russian Public Chamber on Tuesday.

"The situation is hard and emergency. A real threat of the use of force exists," he said. "Our position is decisive unacceptance of this method," Vershinin noted.

Moscow believes the use of force against Syria will produce only a reverse effect, he added.

UN analysis of Syria samples ready to begin

The analysis of samples collected by the UN chemical weapons investigation team in Syria will begin "within hours," a UN spokesman said Monday.

"The samples were shipped this afternoon from The Hague and will reach their destination within hours," the spokesman said. "The designated laboratories are prepared to begin the analyses immediately after receipt of samples."

Laboratories in non-Security Council member countries have been selected. The spokesman did not elaborate further on where the laboratories are.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to brief the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council Tuesday on the latest developments.

Swedish lab to study UN Syria samples

A military lab in the northern Swedish city of Umea will analyze samples collected by a UN team on the site of a purported chemical attack in Syria, Swedish media said on Monday. Umea’s Vasterbottens-Kuriren newspaper said it had received confirmation of the report directly from the team’s chief, Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom.

Vasterbottensnytt, the local office of Sweden's national SVT television, said Sellstrom arrived to Sweden on Monday. The Swedish Defense Research Agency’s laboratory in Umea is the country’s only facility, accredited by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for this type of research. Swedish media also reported that some of the samples might be sent to Finland for analysis.

Western powers are considering armed intervention in the two-year civil war after hundreds of people were killed on August 21 in the Syrian capital Damascus in an apparent nerve gas attack that the Syrian opposition claimed was performed by government forces. The Syrian government quickly denied the allegations and said it had evidence of rebel groups using chemical weapons.

A UN investigative team was dispatched on the site of the attack and is expected to present its findings by mid-September, but its mandate is limited to establishing whether the attack took place, not naming the guilty parties. 

Syria's Assad says French strikes would trigger serious 'repercussions'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday scorned allegations that his forces were behind chemical attacks in Damascus last month and warned that any French military action against his government would trigger negative repercussions.

"Those who make accusations must show evidence. We have challenged the US and France to come up with a single piece of proof. (Presidents) Obama and Hollande have been incapable of doing so," Assad told the French daily in an interview.

"Anybody who contributes to the financial and military reinforcement of terrorists is the enemy of the Syrian people. If the policies of the French state are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy," he said. "There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, on French interests."

French intel says Syria chemical attack came from regime-held areas

A French intelligence report has concluded that rockets used in a deadly August 21 chemical weapons attack were fired from regime-controlled areas, a government source said on Monday.

The report also concluded that there had been "massive use of chemical agents" in the attack, which was "at a level of sophistication that can only belong to the regime."

Chemical warfare investigators likely to return to Syria – UN

The UN team that investigated last month’s alleged chemical attack east of Damascus may return to Syria to continue their mission.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky did not give any detains when he announced this to the Russian Interfax agency Monday.

The attack in question took place on August 21.

The UN team left Syria last Saturday after inspecting the site of the attack and taking samples.

Three earlier instances of alleged chemical weapons use are yet to be investigated.

Voice of Russia, dpa, RIA, Reuters, Interfax, AFP, TASS

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