Russia says proposed UN resolution on Syria 'unacceptable'

Members of the Syrian civil defence volunteers and people search for survivors from the rubble following reported air-strikes on the rebel-held town of Saqba on April 4, 2017.
Members of the Syrian civil defence volunteers and people search for survivors from the rubble following reported air-strikes on the rebel-held town of Saqba on April 4, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia said Wednesday (April 5) that a UN resolution put forward by Britain, France and the United States on a suspected chemical attack in Syria was "unacceptable", after deflecting blame from its ally Damascus.

"The text as presented is categorically unacceptable," foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said, calling the project "anti-Syrian".

"It pre-empts the results of an investigation and just immediately designates the guilty. Damascus is portrayed as guilty."

Ms Zakharova denounced the proposal at the UN as an attempt at "whipping up" the political situation in Syria and said that Moscow "does not see any particular necessity to pass the resolution at the current moment".

Resolutions that have already been taken will allow an investigation to take place, she said.

Britain, France and the United States have circulated a draft Security Council resolution demanding a swift investigation, after pointing the finger at President Bashar al-Assad's government for the attack.

At least 72 people, among them 20 children, were killed in Tuesday's attack in rebel-held Khan Sheikhun, and dozens more were left gasping for air, convulsing and foaming at the mouth, doctors said.

Russia has said that Syrian jets struck a rebel arms depot housing "toxic substances" that were being added to bombs, and Ms Zakharova said the UN proposal was based on "fake information".