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Syria strikes - live updates: UK calls Russian claim Britain was behind Douma chemical attack 'ludicrous' Syria strikes - live updates: Row over OPCW's access to chemical attack site as Theresa May prepares to face parliament
(about 2 hours later)
Russia’s claim that Britain was behind the alleged Douma chemical attack is “ludicrous”, the UK’s envoy to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said. Peter Wilson added the body had logged 390 allegations of banned chemical use in Syria since 2014. Chemical weapons investigators have not yet visited Douma in Syria, amid claims they are being blocked by Russia. Moscow's deputy foreign minister said the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons required a UN permit to access the site, having earlier said any delays were due to Saturday's air strikes. The Kremlin has also denied tampering with the scene.
It comes as Theresa May prepares to face MPs over her decision to order the RAF to take part in joint strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites alongside the US and France. A Commons debate is expected to follow this afternoon. The row comes as Theresa May prepares to face MPs over her decision to order the RAF to take part in joint strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites alongside the US and France. A Commons debate is expected to follow this afternoon.
She has faced criticism from Jeremy Corbyn, who called for a War Powers Act to limit the power of governments to launch military action without parliament’s approval.She has faced criticism from Jeremy Corbyn, who called for a War Powers Act to limit the power of governments to launch military action without parliament’s approval.
But this morning Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, said the intelligence involved was too sensitive to be seen by all MPs and that it would therefore be “quite wrong” to allow them to vote on using force without seeing “the full picture”.But this morning Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, said the intelligence involved was too sensitive to be seen by all MPs and that it would therefore be “quite wrong” to allow them to vote on using force without seeing “the full picture”.
Please allow a moment for the live blog to loadPlease allow a moment for the live blog to load
In the Commons today Ms May will attempt to flesh out the legal and moral case for the bombings, and is expected to say: “It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used.”In the Commons today Ms May will attempt to flesh out the legal and moral case for the bombings, and is expected to say: “It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used.”
Meanwhile the US has threatened new sanctions on Russia over its support for Bashar al-Assad‘s regime.Meanwhile the US has threatened new sanctions on Russia over its support for Bashar al-Assad‘s regime.
“They will be going directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN said. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin would announce the measures, she added.“They will be going directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN said. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin would announce the measures, she added.
Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.
In a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, the Russian president said the bombings had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.In a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, the Russian president said the bombings had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.
Russia and Iran are the major backers of Mr Assad’s regime.Russia and Iran are the major backers of Mr Assad’s regime.
Arab League leaders have now called for an international probe into the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned what they said was Iran’s interference in the affairs of other countries.Arab League leaders have now called for an international probe into the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned what they said was Iran’s interference in the affairs of other countries.