UN council rejects Russia resolution on Syria

Buses carry rebels and their families who left Douma at Wafideen camp in Damascus. — Reuters

Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation", but didn't elaborate or provide evidence.

The Russian leader warned against "ill-considered and risky actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture".

She said the message from airstrikes that "crippled Syria's chemical weapons program" was "crystal clear".

The vote reflected the deep divisions in the UN's most powerful body, which has been paralysed in dealing with the seven-year Syrian conflict and chemical weapons use in the country.

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But this was balanced by a warning from France's ambassador to the U.N., Francois Delattre, who told the Security Council that the Syrian government's decision to use chemical weapons again meant they had "reached a point of no return". "Our intelligence tells us otherwise. We can not take such risks", he said at a forum.

After a crunch meeting with national security advisors Thursday, the White House said it had not yet decided how to retaliate to last week's suspected chemical attack which the US, France and Britain blame on Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged after the alleged attack, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that following Syrian rebels' withdrawal from the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, stockpiles of chemical agents were found there. "I hope no one would dare to launch such an adventure now", Lavrov said.

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Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a United States strike could lead to a conflict with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted. Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year.

Russia's denial of the attack comes as Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is set to study the area for evidence. Both the Russian military and the Syrian government said they would facilitate the mission and ensure the inspectors' security. It also said Russian officers found no patients with chemical attack symptoms at a local hospital, and no indication of any burials having taken place of the victims.

The capture of Douma from rebels who evacuated this week has clinched a major victory for Assad, crushing what was once a center of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his seemingly unassailable position in the war.

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