World News

Syria asks U.N. council to prevent new U.S. attacks

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria’s U.N. envoy said on Tuesday that he has asked the U.N. Security Council to take action to prevent a repeat of a U.S. attack last weekend on Syrian territory.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters that he made the request in duplicate letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

In the letters he asked Ban and the council “to assume their responsibilities in a view to preventing the renewed perpetration of such aggression against Syria and to hold the American administration responsible for such aggressive acts and for its outcome.”

The Syrian envoy declined to say whether he wanted the council to issue a statement of condemnation or if he wanted a resolution, which would be a much stronger form of protest. He said it was up to the council president to decide what action was appropriate.

However, Ja’afari said he wanted the council to hold the United States responsible “politically” and “legally”.

The United States, like Britain, France, China and Russia, is a permanent veto-wielding member of the council and can prevent it from taking any steps in response to the incident.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the raid by U.S. forces inside Syria on Sunday was believed to have killed a major al Qaeda operative who had helped smuggle foreign fighters into Iraq. Damascus said those killed were innocent civilians.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Jackie Frank