Russia, US at Odds Before Vote on Syria Chemical Weapons Team

Washington and its allies have blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation.

Russian Federation has vetoed nine resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011, including blocking an initial United States bid on October 24 to renew the JIM, saying it wanted to wait for the release two days later of the inquiry's report that blamed a sarin gas attack on the Syrian regime.

Trump says on Twitter he needs "all" on the council to renew the so-called JIM "to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again".

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Russia, along with Iran, is the key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow's military intervention inside Syria is widely seen as tipping the balance in the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will next week host Turkish and Iranian counterparts Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani for summit talks on Syria, Turkish state media said today.

"We are engaging with them", he said. "The draft text Russian Federation put forward without any negotiation is unhelpful, has no support, and can not be taken seriously".

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In April, more than 80 people were killed in a sarin attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun - an attack that prompted the United States to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

United Nations diplomats said they were expecting a Russian veto of the U.S. text during the council meeting scheduled for 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

"Let there be no doubt: we have unleashed a monster here", said Delattre.

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The statement comes as a joint worldwide inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is set to expire Thursday.

"We are of the view that the JIM report, the seventh report, has been established by a flagrant disregard of [the] basic higher standards of the Chemical Convention, UN Security Council resolutions and previous decisions by the ECE executive council", Shulgin said.

While Russia agreed to the 2015 creation of the inquiry, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), it has consistently questioned its findings, which also concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine as a weapon several times. That averted a USA military strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

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  • Ryan Wade