Don’t jump to conclusions on Syria, Russia urges US, allies

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Russia has urged the US and its Western allies not to jump to conclusions on an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus, and await the findings of a UN inspection team scheduled to visit the site on Monday.
On Sunday, the Syrian government agreed to allow the UN weapons experts to examine the area in a Damascus suburb where the alleged poison gas attack reportedly killed hundreds of people.

All countries should wait for the results of the probe and “show prudence and avoid tragic mistakes” by jumping to conclusions about the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Sunday.

“Our American and European partners must understand what catastrophic consequences this kind of politics would have for the region, for the Arab and Islamic world as a whole,” Lukashevich said, advising the West to avoid military action against Syria.

In an earlier statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a unilateral military action would be a tragic mistake and will have a devastating impact on the security in the Middle East.

It warned the US and its allies against repeating their past mistakes like the one they made regarding Iraq.

Moscow also warned the West against pointing the finger of blame on Syria regarding the alleged attack.

The statement came after the US Defense Department said it’s ready for military action if US President Barack Obama decides to do so.

On Saturday, Obama held high-level talks with his security aides over a range of potential options.

The White House has said the president is still undecided. But international opponents of the Syrian government are pushing for an offensive. France and Israel have called for military action.

On Sunday, Obama discussed the issue with his French counterpart Francois Hollande. Earlier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there’s no doubt the Syrian government carried out the attack.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague came up with a new accusation, saying Damascus might have already destroyed any evidence of its chemical use. But none of these officials offered their own proof so far.

On August 21, the head of the so-called opposition Syrian National Coalition, George Sabra, claimed that 1,300 people were killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar.

The Syrian government, however, has vehemently rejected the allegation, saying the foreign-backed militants had carried out the attack.

On Saturday, the Syrian forces found chemical agents in tunnels dug by the militants in Jobar. A number of soldiers suffocated as they entered the area.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.

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