US, Allies Tell UN: Syria Strikes Legal, Justified

Headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are seen in The Hague Netherlands. | AP

Headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are seen in The Hague Netherlands. | AP

On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis admitted that the United States had no proof of the chemical weapons attack which is being used to justify calls for military escalation: "We are looking for the actual evidence", Mattis said.

Terming any use of chemical weapons as "abhorrent", the United Nations head said: "The suffering it causes is horrendous".

Moscow's envoy said the three powers acted before allowing the fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a watchdog group, to carry out its investigation.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the West of "hooliganism" and demanded that it "immediately end its actions against Syria and refrain from them in the future".

"This is how you want worldwide affairs to be conducted now?" said an irritated Vassily Nebenzia.

"Unilaterally taking military action by circumventing the Security Council is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter and runs counter to the norms of global law and those governing worldwide relations".

"This is hooliganism in global affairs, and not minor hooliganism, as we are talking about major nuclear powers", the Russian envoy added.

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said the result of the vote sends "a clear message" that Security Council members recognized the need for the airstrikes, and "their proportional and targeted nature". Eight countries voted against and four abstained.

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Russian Federation has countered that the US-led action was aimed at overthrowing Assad and keeping Moscow's influence in check.

He went on to stress that the UN Security Council, of which the three countries are permanent members, "has primary responsibility for the maintenance of global peace and security".

Britain believes "that is wholly within the principles and practices of the United Nations", she said.

Britain argued that the strikes were "both right and legal" to alleviate humanitarian suffering from repeated use of toxic gas in attacks in Syria's seven-year war.

The three allies have not given up on a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

Russia's ambassador was dubious, telling reporters the environment was "not very conducive for any rapprochement", and that "first we have to sort out the political and unsafe military situation we are in now".

"There are no military solutions to the crisis in Syria", Guterres said.

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