United Nations chief: Syria tensions 'threaten full-blown military escalation

“The Cold War is back” : UN's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

The alleged religious divisions in the Middle East are often the result of political manipulation and are reflected in the multiplicity of conflicts in the area, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned today.

Russia, which has stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council, has vehemently denied a chemical attack took place.

Guterres called on all the United Nations members to "unite" to deter further escalation that might aggravate the suffering that the Syrian people have endured during the conflict.

"We call on the parties concerned to remain calm, exercise restraint, refrain from any move that may lead to further escalation of the situation, solve the issue peacefully through consultation and dialogue", Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ma Zhaoxu said Friday.

The Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu held a press conference on Friday, April 13 that touched on the topic of the chemical weapons usage in Syria, Al-Masdar News reports. Nebenzia says: "The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war".

"The Cold War is back - with a vengeance but with a difference", he added. "No country can be allowed to use chemical weapons with impunity".

Citing US estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons "at least 50 times" in the seven-year war, Haley said: "All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons".

Both countries have claimed that the incident was a staged one with the objective of galvanizing Western rebel backers after the US President Donald Trump earlier announced that he was planning to pull out of Syria, and both Russian Federation and Syria allege that there may not have been any chemical use at all.

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He called on the United States, France and Britain "not to bring the world to such a unsafe threshold".

"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria".

Guterres urged the Security Council to "act responsibly in these risky circumstances", according to AFP.

Both the Security Council and the General Assembly have also recognized the importance of engaging youth, and continue seeking ways for their inclusive representation in decision-making in local, national, regional and global institutions.

"History will record that, on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people", Haley said, referring to Assad.

Global chemical weapons experts will go Douma to investigate the suspected poison gas attack, their organization said on Tuesday, as the United States and other Western powers consider military action over the incident.

Russian officials have said USA and Russian military staffs remain in contact regarding Syria, even as Russian media have carried stories in recent days about the potential outbreak of "World War III" as a outcome of a US airstrike against Assad.