UN Security Council rejects three proposed resolutions on the crisis in Syria

UN Security Council rejects three proposed resolutions on the crisis in Syria

"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.

USA president Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action to punish Assad for a suspected poison gas attack on Saturday on a rebel-held town that long had held out against government forces.

The UN Security Council has failed to adopt Russia's draft resolution condemning the recent joint airstrikes by the US, Britain and France on Syria, which came following an alleged chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma. "I appeal to the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility and find unity on this issue", he said.

As tensions mounted over a face-off with Damascus-ally Russian Federation, opponents of unilateral U.S. action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for Thursday.

Seven Council members voted against the resolution, while two others - Kuwait and Cote d'Ivoire - abstained. Russia vetoed a U.S. text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get a minimum nine votes to pass.

United Nations officials, though, said they could not immediately confirm the attack and deferred to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Symbolic as the debate was, its ferocity underscored the bitter divisions within the Security Council over whether Syria's government had carried out a suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, and whether the three Western allies were justified in using force without a clear legal mandate.

While Haley focused on themes of Russian obstructionism and American resolve to strike as needed, the British and French ambassadors emphasized an interest in pursuing talks to ease tensions. "The use of chemical weapons can not become the status quo", he said.

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It was the second vote by the council on Tuesday.

Moscow opposes any Western strike on its close ally Assad and has vetoed Security Council action on Syria 12 times since the conflict started.

Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Washington's decision to put forward its resolution could be a prelude to a Western strike on Syria.

If the U.S. action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria a year ago, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean, as Trump implied when he tweeted they would be "nice, new and "smart".

The State Department says it doesn't know what chemical was used, but says it is confident Syria was responsible. Any plan by Washington and its allies to take military action was likely to be on hold until then, the source said.

Haley spoke in vivid detail about the attack, but said she wouldn't bother to hold up photos of the children murdered on Saturday, as she has before, because, "What would be the point?"

Civilian flights were "already severely limited" over northern Syria for at least the past two years, as a civil war raged there, and only occasionally crossed the southern part of the country to serve Damascus or reach destinations such as Lebanon, Flightradar said in a blog post. It is now operating off Lebanon alongside U.S. ships as part of France's military contingent fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

On Monday, the Republican leader promised that the "heinous attack on innocent Syrians with banned chemical weapons" would be "met forcefully".

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