UK, US and France bid for ceasefire in Syria after airstrikes


On Friday, the U.S., France and the United Kingdom launched a series of airstrikes meant to cripple Syria's ability to manufacture chemical weapons, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been using against his own people.

But by Monday, the team had still not been granted safe passage, according to the United Kingdom envoy to the OPCW, Peter Wilson. France has maintained regular contacts with Russian Federation, despite heightened tensions.

The former missile base was assessed to have been used by the Syrian regime to "keep chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of Syria's obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention", the MoD said in a statement.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad said Monday his country was ready to facilitate the OPCW team in any way to carry out its mission, the state-run SANA news agency reported, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not respond directly to CNN's question on whether Russian Federation had blocked the experts.

The OPCW team arrived in Syria shortly before the air strikes and met with Syrian officials.

Experts from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog are now in Damascus and have been waiting to visit the site of the suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma, just east of Damascus.

"On Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts", he added at a press conference in the Russian embassy in The Hague.

"I just want to tell Mr. Trump directly: I'm a Syrian refugee who survived chemical weapons attacks, who lived under two years of siege and bombardment by the government", Kassem Eid told CNN.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded".

The Pentagon said no further action was planned but Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the USA was "locked and loaded" should another gas attack occur.

"We dealt them a severe blow. This raises serious questions about the ability of the (team) to do its job", he said in a statement Monday.

"I see desperation. I see cynicism", he said. On Monday, he told the BBC's Hardtalk show that he guaranteed there had been no Russian tampering.

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The UK has begun air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites.

"And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used".

The Prime Minister is expected to face anger in the Commons after launching military action without securing the support of Parliament.

The leaders will be expected to answer for their decision to join the USA in launching missiles at suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria, in an attempt to punish President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the alleged chemical attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani by phone on Sunday, telling him that any new Western strikes on Syria would spark "international chaos".

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in global relations", the Kremlin statement said.

The strikes on Syria were launched at 9 p.m. ET Friday, the early hours of Saturday morning for Europe and the Middle East.

The three allies have produced a draft United Nations resolution which also includes proposals for an independent investigation into alleged toxic gas attacks to identify perpetrators.

That inquiry ended in November after Russian Federation, which backs Assad, blocked three attempts by the U.N. Security Council to renew its mandate.

She also said a new raft of Russian sanctions would be outlined today by Steve Mnuchin, the United States treasury secretary.

"If you look at what Russian Federation is doing, they continue to be involved with all the wrong actors, whether their involvement in Ukraine, whether you look at how they are supporting Venezuela, whether you look in Syria and their way of propping up Assad and working with Iran, that continues to be a problem", Haley said on Fox News Sunday. "Then they shot 50 down, '" Mr. Trump said. They need to do more.