Security Council urged to send "strong message" to deter chemical attacks

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Jeffrey Feltman (centre). UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The Security Council is being urged to send a "strong collective" message that any use of chemical weapons shall not be tolerated and will have consequences.

That's what the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman said in his briefing to the Council on Syria following an attack conducted by the United States against a military airbase in Homs province on Friday.

Two US naval vessels, deployed in the eastern Mediterranean, launched a total of 59 cruise missiles targeting the Al-Shayrat military airbase, he said.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Eighty-six people died and 300 were injured in Tuesday's chemical attack in Khan Shaykhoun in southern Idlib, the UN Political Affairs chief said on Friday during his briefing to the Security Council. 

The chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW, recently established a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to confirm if chemical weapons had been used. 

Mr Feltman said the United States launched the attack against the Al-Shayrat military airbase in response to the alleged Syrian government's use of chemical weapons from that base. 

The US also claimed that the missiles severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment. 

Here's Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman: 

"The Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. We hope the Council can unite and exercise that responsibility to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun. It is important that this Council sends a strong collective message that any use of chemical weapons shall not be tolerated and will have consequences."

Iran and Russia condemned the attack, while countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand expressed some support for the strikes. 

Meanwhile, the Syrian General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces called the attack a "blatant act of aggression" which had caused six deaths and "huge material damage." 

Quoting the Secretary-General, Mr Feltman urged the global community to ensure that chemical weapons are never used again as an instrument of warfare. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’38″

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