Monday, 9 April 2018

Syria 'chemical weapons' attack: Christian charity 'deeply alarmed' as West's response comes under spotlight

The West's response to atrocities in Syria came under the spotlight on Monday as horrific images purported to show a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town on Saturday.

If the death toll is confirmed it would be the worst chemical attack in Syria since more than 80 died in Khan Sheikhoun in early April last year.

Jaish al-Islam, the last remaining rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, has agreed to leave its base in Douma for an opposition-held area in northern Syria, after the chemical attack killed dozens of civilians.
US President Donald Trump warned there would be a 'big price to pay' for the attack in Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta region, near the capital Damascus, branding Syria's President Bashar al-Assad an 'animal'.

The US joined France in signing a statement threatening to respond but it is not yet clear what that response will be.

Hours after the attack an airstrike hit a Syrian military airport. The Syrian government and its ally Russia blamed Israel for the attack after initially blaming the US. The White House denied it was behind the deadly strike on the Tiyas airbase, known as T4, near the city of Homs.

The UK is in urgent talks with allies at the United Nations last night and British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the 'international community must respond'. The UN's security council, where Russia holds a permanent seat, is set to hold an emergency meeting.

'We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere,' said Johnson. 'We are in close touch with our allies following these latest reports. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons have lost all moral integrity and must be held to account.'

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