Syria invites global watchdog to probe chemical strike claims

US Says Syria Not Qualified To Head UN Disarmament Forum

United States urges new UN resolution on Syria gas attack

Assad regime forces struck targets in Eastern Ghouta's Douma district on Saturday, using a toxic gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.

Senior figures in British politics have called for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to take military action against the Syrian regime following an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

The two Russian draft resolutions won 6 and 5 votes respectively.

Mr. Trump said that the administration is still "studying" the situation in Syria closely and is talking to military leaders about an appropriate response.

The incident has thrust Syria's seven-year-old conflict back to the forefront of worldwide concern and brought the possibility of Western military action against Assad's forces.

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"President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled", Sanders said. Mattis was supposed to visit California and Nevada, the official added without giving further details.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the USA -drafted resolution would have demanded access to the scene of the reported attack in Douma, a rebel-held area in the Damascus suburbs, and "would also create a new investigative mechanism to look into chemical weapons attacks in Syria and determine who is responsible".

But US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the "world must see justice done".

Right before the vote on the Russian text, Swedish ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog requested a suspension of the Security Council meeting for extra consultations.

France has previously warned it would respond with strikes on Syrian government forces, if evidence of chemical attacks was found.

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Trump, asked at midday whether Russian President Vladimir Putin bore any responsibility for the weekend attack, responded: "He may, yeah, he may".

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said a team would deploy to Syria "shortly".

Speaking with media in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that we can not blindly believe the results until experts take a closer look.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said poison gas was used on the rebel-held town near the capital, an allegation strongly denied by the Assad government.

Coinciding with a request from both the Syrian regime and its ally Russian Federation to investigate the allegations, "the OPCW technical secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment", the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

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Later on Tuesday, the UN Security Council will vote on competing United States and Russian draft resolutions on the Syria incident.

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