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British Cabinet agrees 'need for action' in Syria

British Cabinet agrees 'need for action' in Syria

| @indiablooms | 13 Apr 2018, 09:10 am

London, Apr 13 (IBNS): The British Cabinet has decided that 'action' is needed to be taken in Syria to "deter the further use of chemical weapons", Downing Street said.

In an official statement, Downing Street said  British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was a shocking and barbaric act which killed up to 75 people, including children, in the most appalling and inhumane way.

"Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday’s attack," said the statement.

Following a discussion, Cabinet agreed it was vital that the 'use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged'.

The statement further said: "Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime."

"Cabinet agreed the Prime Minister should continue to work with allies in the United States and France to coordinate an international response," it said.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said that it has received reports that an estimated 500 patients at Syrian health facilities have exhibited signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals, after the shelling of a Damascus suburb over the weekend.

“We should all be outraged at these horrific reports and images from Douma,” Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response said, referreing to reports from the agency’s health cluster partners – a WHO-led team of 118 national and international nongovernmental organizations, UN agencies, national authorities and donors working inside Syria to provide emergency and trauma care, as well as basic health services.

According to those reports, patients at health facilities displayed signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems.

More than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, including 43 with symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals. Two health facilities were also reportedly affected by these attacks.

These detailed reports from WHO’s partners come as the UN Security Council tried and failed on Tuesday to adopt two competing resolutions that would have established a mechanism to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as another resolution concerning a fact-finding mission in the war-torn country.

Despite the deadlock in the Security Council, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – the body which investigates allegations of such attacks – said yesterday that it would shortly send a team to Syria to “establish the facts” surrounding the incident.

Secretary-General António Guterres has also expressed his outrage at reports that civilians in the enclave are being targeted by toxic agents, saying that any confirmed use of chemical weapons, by any party to the conflict, “is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law.”

WHO meanwhile has demanded immediate unhindered access to the area to provide care to those affected, to assess the health impacts, and to deliver a comprehensive public health response.

Since 2012 there have been sporadic reports of chemical events in Syria.

Image: UN website

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