Russia, Iran and Syria issue warning to US against launching new strikes on Syria

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Associated Press

Russia, Syria and Iran strongly warned the United States last night against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an international probe into last week's chemical attack there.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his Iranian and Syrian counterparts at a trilateral meeting in Moscow, denounced last week's US attack on Syria as a "flagrant violation" of international law and warned that any further such action would entail "grave consequences not only for regional but global security."

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the meeting sent a "strong message" to Washington.

Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasised that the participants warned that any unilateral action by the US is unacceptable.

The US has blamed the Syrian government for launching a deadly chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people on April 4, and responded by striking a Syrian air base.

Russia has alleged that the victims were killed by toxic agents released from a rebel chemical arsenal and warned against putting the blame on Damascus until an independent inquiry has been conducted.

Moscow vetoed a Western draft UN resolution on Wednesday, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the area of the attack.

Lavrov on Friday accused the US and its allies of what he described as attempts to stymie an international probe into the attack.

He expressed strong skepticism about a preliminary investigation conducted by the UN chemical weapons watchdog, saying that its experts have failed to visit the site and it has remained unclear to Russia where the samples have been taken and how they have been analysed.

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