Moscow has vetoed a draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council which demands that Damascus grant full access to UN inspectors at any military site in Syria, under the threat of military action.
The document was drafted by the US, the UK and France amid an international crisis over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province on April 4. The US has already declared the Syrian government guilty of the alleged sarin gas attack and retaliated with a barrage of cruise missiles targeting a Syrian airbase, from which, Washington claimed, the attack was launched.
Moscow criticized the US for its military action, calling it rushed, illegal and potentially playing into the hands of terrorists. Washington accused Russia of complicity in the alleged crime and demanded that it stop supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Unlike the previous draft resolution on the alleged incident, the fresh document did not lay the blame for it on Damascus. It also referred to the incident as the “reported use of chemical weapons” rather than stating that such use did take place as a fact.
However, the draft leaned heavily on the Syrian government in terms of demands to submit to an investigation of the incident. It said inspectors chosen by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must be given prompt and unrestricted access to “any and all sites” they choose, provided with flight plans and logs they request, and given the names of military officers “in command of any aircraft” they probe. Damascus would also have to “arrange meetings requested, including with generals or other officers, within no more than five days of the date on which such meeting is requested.”
In the event of non-compliance with the terms, Syria could be exposed to military action mandated by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The rebel forces controlling Khan Shaykhun were only asked to “provide delay-free and safe access” to the site of the reported incident.