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US says chemical arms inspectors still have not entered site of Syrian attack

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

A boy walks along a damaged street at the city of Douma in Damascus, Syria, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

The United States believes inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog have not yet been able to enter the site of the April 7 alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons had been able to see the site but the team has not entered Douma.

She said the United States had information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack and was concerned that evidence was deteriorating the longer inspectors were kept from reaching the site.

“The longer that it takes to get OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get on the ground, that delay further degrades any evidence that’s on the ground. So that is our chief concern,” Nauert said. — Reuters

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Putin says Islamic State has seized 700 hostages in Syria

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018

Vladimir Putin speaks about the situation in Syria, says 700 people are taken hostage | REUTERS

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Islamic State militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by U.S.-backed forces and issued an ultimatum promising to execute 10 people every day.

Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin said the hostages included several U.S. and European nationals, adding that Islamic State was expanding its control in territory controlled by the U.S. and U.S.-backed forces.

Putin did not specify what the militants’ demands were. — Reuters

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Russian military holds chemical attack drill

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

Man in chemical protection suit holding a red flag during the chemical attack drill in Russia | REUTERS

The Russian military held a chemical attack drill on Sunday (September 16) as part of major military exercises Vostok-2018.

The Russian defense ministry published a video showing servicemen in chemical protection suits and gas masks cleaning tanks.

Russia’s biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) drills, which run until Sept. 17, take place in eastern Siberia close to the border with China and involve 300,000 Russian troops.

The exercises involve over a thousand military aircraft as well as up to 36,000 tanks, come amid tense relations between Russia and the West. — Reuters

 

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Macron says keeping Assad in power would be a ‘disastrous mistake’

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

 

French President Emmanuel Macron. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Macron said on Monday (August 27) keeping Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria would be a “disastrous mistake,” although it was not France’s duty to assign the country’s future leader.

“Who provoked the flow of these millions of refugees?” Macron said during a speech at a Paris conference of ambassadors. “Who massacred his own people? It is not for France to designate Syria’s future leader, no more than any other country. But it is our task and in our interest to make sure that the Syrian people are well in a position to do it.”

The Syrian conflict, which has killed 300,000 people and pushed 5.6 million Syrian refugees towards neighboring countries and Europe, has turned into a war of attrition as the regime tries to contain rebels and extremists.

Assad’s regime has taken back control of most of the territory except for the province of Idlib, the remaining refuge of rebels and the Islamic State.

On Libya, Macron said it was France’s role to move forward a Paris accord to secure reunification in the country, which he said was an “essential factor for the stability of the region.”

In May, the four principal actors in Libya’s political crisis convened in Paris to put in place a constitutional foundation for elections and to adopt electoral laws for the December 10 polls.  — Reuters

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