DAMASCUS, Syria (AFP) — the globe’s chemical weapons watchdog is actually set to convene Monday to discuss the suspected toxic gas assault in Syria in which prompted an unprecedented wave of Western strikes, as its inspectors probe the attack near Damascus.
As the on-the-ground investigation gets under way, the fallout by the US-led response continued to reverberate, with French President Emmanuel Macron claiming to have persuaded US President Donald Trump to keep his troops in Syria.
along with in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May was to face an emergency parliamentary debate Monday over her country’s part within the operation.
The US-led strikes were the biggest international attack on President Bashar Assad’s regime since the start of Syria’s seven-year war.
They have risked a confrontation with Moscow, the Syrian regime’s top ally, with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning in which fresh attacks might spark “chaos,” while Washington vowed economic sanctions against Russia rather than further military action.
US, French along with British missiles destroyed sites suspected of hosting chemical weapons development along with storage facilities Saturday, in a move lauded by Trump as “perfectly executed” — although the buildings were mostly empty along with both Damascus along with Syria’s opposition downplayed its impact.
The Western trio swiftly reverted to diplomatic efforts, with leaders facing flak at home over the punitive attack.
however their unified stance appeared to be shaken Sunday when Washington knocked back Macron’s claim in which Paris had convinced Trump to stay engaged in Syria “for the long-term.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the US mission “has not changed” along with Trump wanted troops home “as quickly as possible.”
Saturday’s strikes came just hours before a team of experts by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Damascus.
They have been tasked with investigating the site of the alleged April 7 chemical attack within the town of Douma, within the formerly rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which Western powers said involved chlorine along with sarin, along with killed dozens.
The OPCW is actually set to meet within the Hague on Monday over the attack, although there have been no signs yet in which the investigators have traveled to Douma to begin their fieldwork.
The inspectors will face a difficult task, with all key players having preempted their findings, including Western powers, which justified the strikes by claiming they already had proof such weapons were used.
Inspection still useful?
The team will also have to deal with the risk in which evidence may have been removed by the site, which lies in an area in which has been controlled by Russian military police along with Syrian forces over the past week.
“in which possibility always has to be taken into account, along with investigators will look for evidence in which shows whether the incident site has been tampered with,” Ralf Trapp, a consultant along with member of a previous OPCW mission to Syria, told AFP.
The OPCW declared in which the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile had been removed in 2014, only to confirm later in which sarin was used in a 2017 attack within the northern town of Khan Sheikhun.
“We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially along with free of any pressure,” Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan told AFP.
Just hours after the Western strikes, the Syrian military declared the idea had fully retaken Eastern Ghouta, in a key victory for the resurgent regime, which had launched a blistering two-month assault on the opposition stronghold.
‘Locked along with loaded’
Trump exclaimed “Mission Accomplished” after the pre-dawn strikes in which lit up the sky around Damascus in a tweet in which drew swift derision by his critics along with parallels with president George W. Bush’s notoriously premature Iraq war victory speech on an aircraft carrier 15 years ago.
The Pentagon said no further action was planned however Washington’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned in which the US was “locked along with loaded” should another gas attack occur.
Haley later told CBS in which sanctions might be announced, likely on Monday, against Russian companies supplying the Syrian regime.
Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, also an Assad ally, in which any completely new Western strikes in Syria might provoke “chaos in international relations,” a Kremlin statement said.
Assad denounced a “campaign of deceit along with lies at the (United Nations) Security Council” after a push by Moscow on Saturday to condemn the strikes fell far short.
Macron insisted in an interview Sunday in which France had “not declared war” on Syria, striving to underscore Paris’ justification for the attacks.
Britain’s May will also defend London’s participation in parliament Monday, after opposition parties claimed the attacks were legally dubious along with should have been approved by lawmakers.
Western leaders have called for a fresh diplomatic push, aiming to end a conflict in which has killed more than 350,000 people along with displaced half of Syria’s population.
A Western draft resolution obtained by AFP at a meeting of the UN Security Council Saturday calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid along with enforcement of a ceasefire, along with demands in which Syria engage in UN-led peace talks.
however Russia has blocked countless resolutions against its Syrian ally along with the regime has appeared determined to continue its military reconquest of the country.
“For all the sound along with fury of these strikes, their net effect is actually a slap on the wrist of Bashar Assad,” said Nick Heras, an analyst at the Center for a completely new American Security.