Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Arab League accuses Syria of chemical attack

By
From page A2 | August 27, 2013 |

CAIRO (AP) — The Arab League has blamed the Syrian government for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

In an emergency meeting held Tuesday, the Arab League also called on members of the U.N. Security Council to overcome their differences and agree on “deterrent” measures against those who committed “this heinous crime.” The League said it will convene a meeting at the ministerial level next week to follow up on the situation in Syria.

The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack. The U.S said it is ready for military action if evidence is conclusive that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons.

In Damascus, Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using “all means available” in case of a U.S. strike,  challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.

The United Nations said that its team of chemical weapons experts in Syria delayed a second trip to investigate an alleged poison gas attack near Damascus by one day for security reasons.

Walid al-Moallem, speaking at a press conference, likened U.S. allegations that President Bashar Assad’s regime was behind a purported poison gas attack to false American charges that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of that country.

“They have a history of lies — Iraq,” he said. Al-Moallem spoke a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “undeniable” evidence of a large-scale chemical attack likely launched by Assad’s regime.

Kerry’s comments and tough language Monday laid out the clearest argument yet for U.S. military action in Syria, which, if President Barack Obama decides to order it, would most likely involve sea-launched cruise missile attacks on Syrian military targets.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by Obama to strike Syria.

In an interview with BBC television during a visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei, he said the U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region.

Support for some sort of international military response is likely to grow if it is confirmed that Assad’s regime was responsible for the Aug. 21 attack that activists say killed hundreds of people. The group Doctors Without Borders put the death toll at 355.

Obama has yet to say how he will respond, but appeared to be moving ahead even as the U.N. team on the ground in Syria collected evidence from the attack.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament on Tuesday for an urgent discussion on a possible military response, as the army drew up contingency plans.

Cameron’s office said that Britain is considering a “proportionate” response that would deter Assad from using chemical weapons in the future.

At the Syrian news conference, Al-Moallem called the U.S. accusations “categorically false.”

“I challenge those who accuse our forces of using these weapons to come forward with the evidence,” he said. Syria would fight back in case of a U.S. strike, he added.

“We have the means to defend ourselves and we will surprise everyone,” he told reporters in Damascus. “We will defend ourselves using all means available. I don’t want to say more than that,” he added.

Al-Moallem also rejected accusations that Syria was destroying evidence of the alleged attack. He said he was personally unconvinced that there will be international military action, but that if there was Syria could handle it.

“The strike will come and go. We get mortars every day and we have learned to live with them,” he said.

He also blamed the postponement of the U.N. team’s planned visit to the eastern Ghouta suburb on disputes between rebel gunmen who could not agree on safety guarantees for the investigators.

The U.N confirmed the one-day delay, saying only it was for security reasons. A statement said the decision was made Tuesday in order to improve preparedness and safety, after unidentified snipers opened fire on the team’s convoy on Monday on a similar trip to the region.

“The Secretary-General again urges all sides in the conflict to give safe passage and access to the team,” the statement said.

The U.N. team traveled Monday to the western Damascus suburb Moadamiyeh, one of the areas affected by purported chemical attack, where they collected samples and testimony after a treacherous journey through government and rebel-held territory. Their convoy was hit by snipers but members of the team were unharmed.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had instructed U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane in Damascus “to register a strong complaint” with both the Syrian government and opposition representatives for the convoy attack.

In Geneva, U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told reporters that the inspection team might need longer than the planned 14 days to complete its work and its priority now is to determine what chemical weapons might have been used in the Aug. 21 attack. “This is the first priority,” she said.

 

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
Somewhere, over the rainbow

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1

 
Girls sleep safely at Myanmar school, thanks to generous Davisites

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Summer produce, yummy treats featured at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Explore the night sky at Tuleyome Astronomy Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Appeals panel upholds race in admissions for UT Austin

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out planned Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Saylor welcomes visitors at ‘office hours’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Korean teenagers welcome us with open arms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Time to support people with disabilities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Shame on the Palestinians

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Kimble left a swimming legacy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Questions about city revenue

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

Son-in-law has them worried

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Not up for full-time caregiving

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

.

Sports

Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Yolo Post 77 looks to avenge last year’s outcome

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Thompson shines as Republic falls

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

River Cats overpower Chihuahuas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Area sports briefs: Heintz returns to UCD

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

MLB roundup: Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Acme Theatre to present ‘The Rememberer’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Video highlights walking The Camino

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
‘Grease’ is the show at WOH

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Winters Fourth Friday Feast celebrates cycling

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Lincoln Highway rolls into Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7