Russia says Syria chemical attack 'fabricated'



Emmanuel Macron speaks to Vladimir Putin
The French president said he told his Russian counterpart that he wanted dialogue with Russia to intensify, in order to bring peace to Syria.
Mr Macron said he was deeply concerned about the worsening situation on the ground in Syria.

Russian ambassador concerned about possible UK action
Alexander Yakovenko, Russia's ambassador to the UK, says his country is concerned about British ministers' decision potentially to take action against Syria.
He adds that Russian officials who visited Douma in Syria did not find traces of chemical substances - echoing what Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said.
He also says that UK military action in Syria, if taken in violation of international law, would mark the latest in a series of reckless adventures by the UK.   

Turkey's Erdogan discusses Syria with US and Russia
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had discussed potential steps towards peace in Syria with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, following a series of phone calls in recent days.

Turkey says alleged use of chemical weapons 'unforgivable'
Turkey's prime minister is urging countries to refrain from any action that could worsen the situation in Syria any further.
Binali Yildirim said the alleged attack was "heinous" and "unforgivable", and that the perpetrators should "pay a price".
"However ... any action that would lead to the failure or harm activities led by Turkey, Iran and Russia toward a lasting peace should be avoided," he said.

Russia says intervention in Syria could lead to more immigration
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that even small acts could "lead to new waves of migrants to Europe and a lot of other developments that aren't at all needed, either by us or our European neighbours, and can only gratify those who are protected by an ocean".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Government of 'waiting for instructions' from US president Donald Trump on what to do over Syria.
Corbyn also called for an independent UN-led inquiry into the devastating air strike in Douma last Saturday that killed a reported 75 civilians and injured 500 more, presumed to have been carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Shadow foreign secretary Diane Abbott also warned military action could end up with the RAF inadvertently "serving as the air arm" of Jihadi extremist rebels.
The comments come after Theresa May won the backing of her Cabinet for military action against Syrian forces.
After a two-hour emergency meeting on Thursday, Cabinet ministers "agreed on the need to take action" in response to a "highly likely" chemical weapon attack by Syrian forces.
The meeting at Number 10 was held to determine whether Britain would join US-led air strikes against the regime of president Bashar Assad.
Downing Street said there had been ministerial agreement that such actions should not go "unchallenged".
Theresa May appears to have been convinced President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons.
Theresa May appears to have been convinced President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. Credit: PA
"Further UK military intervention in Syria's appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict," Corbyn said, adding that "ministers should take their proposals, such as they are, to parliament".
"The Government appears to be waiting for instructions from President Donald Trump on how to proceed. But the US administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals," he said.
ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker says all the options on the table are "risky."
Downing Street said the UK will continue to work with the US and France to coordinate an international response.
Number 10 made no reference to the Commons being given a vote on military action, prompting speculation that the Prime Minister may be preparing to proceed without consulting MPs.
Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also warned against military action, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The real danger is that what starts out as a justified punishment for the use of chemical weapons ends up with the Royal Air Force serving as the air arm of the Jihadi extremist rebels in Syria."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he hoped history would not repeat itself.
"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience."
He added that even the smallest miscalculation in Syria could be disastrous.
The Russian Embassy in the UK also weighed in on the debate, saying it was "concerned about the decision of the Cabinet to "take action" amid the reports on the possible UK participation in the military operation against Syria".
At the request of the Syrian Government the OPCW sent a fact-finding team to Douma.
"Military strikes may be used to cover up all the evidence, or lack thereof, on the ground. Such a decision, if it's taken, in violation of the international law and the Charter of the United Nations may well mark the latest in the series of the reckless military adventures by the UK," the embassy added.
Referencing the Chilcot inquiry, the Russian ambassador hinted that the UK Government were "deliberately" misleading the public.
"The infamous aggression against Iraq in 2003 immediately comes to mind, when the then-Prime Minister Tony Blair deliberately misinformed the Parliament and the public.
"It is well known how it ended - with Chilcot inquiry delivering a condemnatory verdict. It's essential to avoid any steps which could escalate the tensions."

Russia says alleged chemical attack was 'fabricated'
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russian experts had examined the site of the alleged attack in Douma, east of Damascus, and found no trace of chemical weapons.
He said Moscow had "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication".
He added that "intelligence agencies of a state that is now striving to spearhead a Russo-phobic campaign were involved in that fabrication".
He did not name the state.

Russia warns against repeating 'Libyan and Iraqi' experience
"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience," foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference.

Merkel and Macron discuss Syria
German Chancelor Angela Merkel spoke to French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday about the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. 
Mrs Merkel later told reporters that Germany would not be joining in any military strikes against Syria.