UNITED NATIONS, April 7. /TASS/. The UN Security Council has decided to postpone the consideration of draft resolutions on the incident with alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib province on April 4, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN said.
“The vote won’t be held today (on Thursday),” a spokesman for the mission Fyodor Strzhizhovsky said.
The UNSC is currently considering three drafts. One of them was submitted on Wednesday by the United Kingdom, the United States and France. The document demands that Damascus should provide the international commission with complete information on the Syrian air forces’ combat flights on the day of the incident. It also says Damascus should allow access to military bases, which could have been used to carry out the airstrikes on Khan Shaykhun. Besides, the document proposes sanctions against Damascus if it commits chemical attacks.
The Russian-drafted document stipulates that the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will send their experts to the site in order to conduct a full-scale investigation. The draft resolution also demands that all parties to the Syrian conflict grant the experts free and secure access to the site.
The third draft was proposed on Thursday by ten temporary members of the UN Security Council – Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay, Ethiopia and Japan – as a compromise solution. It is based on the Western text but excludes the demands towards Damascus. These provisions are replaced by a point from Resolution 2118 passed in 2013 that the Syrian government should fully cooperate with the OPCW and the UN, and also provide access for experts to all the sites and individuals, which may be important for the investigation.
Incident in Syria’s Idlib
On April 4, Reuters cited the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that an airstrike on Syrian’s town of Khan Shaykhun, in the Idlib province, had killed 58 people, including 11 children. Reuters alleged that the chemical attack could have been carried out by “Syrian government or Russian jets.”
The World Health Organization said in a statement that “at least 70 people have died and hundreds more have been affected.”
The Russian and Syrian militaries denied their involvement in the attack. Russia’s Defense Ministry later said that on April 4, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical bombs. These bombs were sent to Iraq and were previously used in Aleppo.