Syria asks the United Nations to stop U.S. strike

BEIRUT Mon Sep 2, 2013 4:46am EDT

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad beside the Canadian Hospital in Aleppo, August 31, 2013. REUTERS/Molhem Barakat

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad beside the Canadian Hospital in Aleppo, August 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Molhem Barakat

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria has asked the United Nations to prevent "any aggression" against Syria following a call over the weekend by U.S. President Barack Obama for punitive strikes against the Syrian military for last month's chemical weapons attack.

Washington says more than 1,400 people, many of them children, were killed in the world's worst use of chemical arms since Iraq's Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in 1988.

U.S. military action will be put to a vote in Congress, which ends its summer recess on September 9, giving President Bashar al-Assad time to prepare the ground for any assault and try to rally international support against the use of force.

In a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, Syrian U.N. envoy Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari called on "the U.N. Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria", state news agency SANA said on Monday.

He called on the Security Council to "maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy".

Ja'afari said the United States should "play its role, as a peace sponsor and as a partner to Russia in the preparation for the international conference on Syria and not as a state that uses force against whoever opposes its policies".

Syria denies using chemical weapons and accuses rebel groups, who have been fighting for more than two years to topple Assad, of using the banned weapons. At least 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which started in March 2011 with protests against four decades of Assad family rule.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that tests showed sarin nerve gas was fired on rebel-held areas on August 21.

Ja'afari said Kerry had "adopted old stories fabricated by terrorists" based on fake photos from the Internet.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Alison Williams)

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Comments (35)
Universalist wrote:
All things aside we should remember that Russia did support a UN CW inspection in Syria, this is a nod to the international body of mitigation which is also a surprising step in the right direction. President Obama has also regarded UN advice by putting the brakes on a potentially faulty strike. Ultimately this is the US and Russia cooperating which is much more important than supporting people who despise you and seek to take advantage of any opportunity. Syria will have to settle it’s own internal affairs with nothing more than advice from the outside world. They’re on a different page in another time zone. If Assad would just make legitimate peace with Israel he would be out of the forest, without Assad we’ll have Egypt II on the horizon. Regardless, the International community is helping refugees and they should be grateful to the west for this–we’ll see how quickly they forget and restart their diatribes against the west when things are settled in Syria shortly. Our only real concern as a world community is those nasty chemical weapons. Russia and China should agree and stand with the world in eliminating CW.

Sep 02, 2013 5:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Erikkc wrote:
If the U.S. was attacked by, or is about to be attacked by, Syria, then we can act militarily with or without Security Council authorization. It would be in accordance with the UN charter.

Were we? Are we about to be?

I think not.

Sep 02, 2013 5:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
buddyholly2 wrote:
This is indeed a test for Ban Ki-moon – its about time he took a stand against the UN process being hijacked and abused. Somehow, I think the backbone is lacking in his case

Sep 02, 2013 6:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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