Saudi Arabia ‘consults allies’ over response to Douma attack

Updated 11 April 2018

Saudi Arabia ‘consults allies’ over response to Douma attack

  • Our position is that those who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable and brought to justice: Saudi FM
  • Inspectors with the global chemical weapons watchdog will travel to Douma to investigate the attack

Saudi Arabia is consulting with its allies on a response to the Assad regime’s chemical gas attack on the Syrian city of Douma, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

“Our position is that those who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable and brought to justice,” Al-Jubeir said.

Asked if Saudi Arabia would join any military action against the Syrian regime, the minister said: “All I can say is that there are discussions on the options available to deal with this matter.”

US President Donald Trump has said there would be a “big price” to pay for the attack, which killed up to 70 people. 

If the US launches a missile strike, “the bloodied hands of members of the regime and their headquarters responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians should be targeted,” Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News on Tuesday.

So far, there had been no talk of regime change, he said, but “if the strike happens everybody is thinking of the day after.”

Meanwhile, inspectors with the global chemical weapons watchdog will travel to Douma, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, to investigate the attack. Syria has been asked to “make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

“This has coincided with a request from Syria and Russia to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly.”

Doctors and eyewitnesses have said victims showed symptoms of poisoning, possibly by a nerve agent, and reported the smell of chlorine gas.

 


Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

Updated 17 November 2019

Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

  • Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad
  • More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Iraqi protesters regained control of a third bridge leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone on Sunday, taking further ground in the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades.
Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad, part of a weeks-long attempt to disrupt traffic and reach the Green Zone housing government ministry and embassies.
Protesters made a barricade of old cabinets, trash cans and metal sheeting on the bridge while security forces took positions behind blast walls installed to prevent protesters from crossing to the other side. Protesters who choked on the tear gas were evacuated by tuk-tuk, a Reuters cameraman said.
On Saturday, Iraqi demonstrators reoccupied part of adjacent Sinak Bridge and a nearby tall building in Baghdad that security forces had pushed them away from a week before. They have held a third bridge, Jamhuriya, since October 25.
More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests.
In Basra in the south, dozens of protesters burned tires and briefly blocked some roads on Sunday, before police managed to restore control and reopen them, police said.
The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.