U.N. Council set for Syria clash as West readies attack

U.N. Council set for Syria clash as West readies attack
# 28 August 2013 17:37 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The United Nations Security Council was set for a showdown over Syria on Wednesday as Britain sought authorization for Western military action that Russia called premature and seemed certain to block, APA reports quoting Reuters.

U.N. chemical weapons experts investigating a gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus made a second trip over the front line to take samples.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleaded for them to be given time to complete their mission and a U.N. official said there was some friction with impatient Western governments which show little interest in waiting for the inspectors' report.

The United States and European and Middle Eastern allies have already pinned the blame on President Bashar al-Assad's forces and a senior U.S. official said planning was under way for possibly several days of attacks by several countries.

"We're talking to a number of different allies regarding participation in a possible kinetic strike," the official said.

That has set Western leaders on a collision course with Moscow, Assad's main arms supplier, as well as with China, which also has a veto in the Security Council and has criticized what it sees as a push for Iraq-style "regime change" - despite U.S. denials that President Barack Obama aims to overthrow Assad.

A Syrian minister showed up at the U.N. team's Damascus hotel to deliver what he said was evidence that it was rebel "terrorist groups" who had used sarin gas last Wednesday - "with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and France".

Elsewhere in the capital, Syrians were stocking up on food, bottled water and other essentials and bracing for bombing.

Western action seems less likely as long as U.N. experts are in Syria. Ban said: "They are working very hard, under very, very dangerous circumstances.

"Let them conclude their work for four days and then we will have to analyze scientifically with experts and then I think we will have to report to the Security Council for any actions."

A spokesman for Ban later said the U.N. chief was not asking for a further four days for the team, which began tests on Monday and completed a second site visit on Wednesday: "They have four days of work to complete," he said.

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