Photos: AP, MCT, AFP, Reuters, CD Bank

UN: Syrian clashes in Golan risk entangling Israel

United Nations envoy to region warns Syrian fighting in Golan could threaten armistice agreement with Israel. Russia claims has 'serious grounds' to believe rebels behind chemical attack

The UN's Mideast envoy says clashes between Syria's army and rebels on the Golan Heights risk drawing Israel into Syria's civil war.


Meanwhile, Russia and France disagreed on Tuesday over a report by UN investigators into a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in Syria, highlighting the problems agreeing on action at the United Nations Security Council.


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Regarding Israel, Robert Serry told the Security Council on Tuesday the fighting could "jeopardize the cease-fire" between Israel and Syria that has been in place since 1974, monitored by UN peacekeepers.


Serry added that during "heavy clashes" Thursday between Syrian troops and the opposition, five artillery shells and one tank shell landed on the Israeli side of the truce line. Serry also noted that the Israelis did not retaliate.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon given report on Syrian chemical attack (Photo: Reuters)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon given report on Syrian chemical attack (Photo: Reuters)


Sitting beside French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at a news conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the report had produced no proof that President Bashar Assad's troops carried out the Aug. 21 attack and that Russia still suspected rebel forces were behind it.


Fabius took the opposite view, saying the report left no doubt that Assad's forces were to blame for the attack which Washington says killed more than 1,400 people. The United States has also blamed Syrian government forces.


Lavrov acknowledged that the investigators' report proved that chemical weapons had been used but that "there is no answer to a number of questions we have asked," including whether the weapons were produced in a factory or home-made.


"We have very serious grounds to believe that this was a provocation," Lavrov said after talks in Moscow between two countries with veto powers in the UN Security Council.


After Lavrov spoke, Fabius, whose country has stood with US President Barack Obama in backing military action against Syria, challenged Lavrov's interpretation by saying the result of the report was clear.


"When you look at the amount of sarin gas used, the vectors, the techniques behind such an attack, as well as other aspects, it seems to leave no doubt that the regime is behind it," Fabius said.


Diplomats from the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China will meet in New York on Tuesday to discuss a Western-drafted resolution on eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal in line with a US-Russian agreement, a US official said.


"The members of the UN Security Council will meet to discuss the joint (US, UK, French) draft Security Council Resolution on Syria's chemical weapons program," Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US said. "In order to respect the integrity of these negotiations, we will not be reading out the details of today's meeting or the draft Resolution," she said.


Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 09.17.13, 20:04
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