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Russia opposes unilateral armed intervention in Syria

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-26 12:56

MOSCOW - The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday urged all outside powers concerned about the Syria crisis to exercise restraint and give up the idea of unilateral armed intervention.

"Serious attention has been paid in Moscow to a statement by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about measures, ordered by President Barack Obama, to make American armed forces ready for armed action against Syria at any moment," said ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich in a statement.

Similar approaches have also been heard from "Paris, London and some other capitals ... with complete disregard for a multitude of acts suggesting that the alleged use by Syrian armed forces of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta on Aug 21 was a provocation on the part of the irreconcilable opposition," he said.

Syrian rebels claimed that President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed as many as 1,300 people in the chemical weapons attack on Wednesday in the suburbs of Damascus, an allegation denied by the Syrian government.

The alleged chemical weapons attack took place just two days after a group of UN inspectors began an investigation into alleged use of chemical weapons in the northern Khan al-Assal town and two other undisclosed locations.

The UN team is set to start on-site fact-finding activities Monday on the latest incident, and the Syrian government has agreed to provide necessary cooperation, including a ceasefire at related locations.

Welcoming Syria's decision to provide necessary cooperation, Lukashevich urged the international community to show patience and wait for the results of the UN investigation.

Moscow, he added, believes that the current fuss about the alleged use of chemical weapons "clearly aims to interfere with the work of UN independent chemical weapons experts that has begun successfully."

The diplomat also said it is "reminiscent of events of 10 years ago in which, using false information that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction as a pretext and bypassing the United Nations, the United States launched a reckless attack with consequences that everyone is well aware of".

He warned that any unilateral armed action that bypasses the UN would "undermine international efforts to find a political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict ... and have an extremely destructive effect on what already is an explosive situation in the Middle East".

The UN team of inspectors was set up at the request of the Syrian government in March.

The Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011, has killed more than 93,000 people and forced more than 1.7 million people to flee the country.

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