Syria crisis: Assad regime asks UN to protect it from 'any aggression' from the West

In other international developments, Russia calls US chemical weapons evidence ‘unconvincing’, while France starts revealing its own intelligence for parliament scrutiny and China warns Americans not to act alone on military intervention

Syria has called on the UN to protect it from "any aggression" it may face in the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack on Damascus.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad has written a letter to the international organisation, addressed to secretary general Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, asking for its protection against anticipated strikes.

It said Mr Ban should “shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria” and asked the body to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy”.

The letter, written by Syrian UN envoy Bashar Ja'afari, said the US was “a state that uses force against whoever opposes its policies”, and described the evidence cited by Secretary of State John Kerry as “old stories fabricated by terrorists“ based on fake photos from the internet.

The comments mirror those coming from Russian officials today, which refute US evidence that the regime was behind the Damascus attack.

American attempts to prove Assad's involvement in the use of chemical weapons are “absolutely unconvincing”, according to Russia’s foreign minister.

The accusation that the Syrian government ordered the bombing of its own people using nerve agents is central to the US’s case for a military retaliation. Ahead of the issue going to a vote in Congress, Mr Kerry has asserted the state is behind the deaths of over 1,400 Syrians on 21 August, 400 of whom were children.

Yet speaking today at Russia’s top diplomatic school, Sergey Lavrov said  the evidence coming from Washington lacked crucial detail.

“Yes, they showed us some findings but there was nothing specific there: no geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals,” Lavrov said – without elaborating on the nature of those tests.

Lavrov said: “What our American, British and French partners showed us in the past and have showed just recently is absolutely unconvincing. And when you ask for more detailed proof they say all of this is classified so we cannot show this to you.”

While the US’s evidence was called into doubt, France was set to present its own intelligence on the alleged chemical attack to its parliament.

President Francois Hollande is becoming increasingly isolated in his demands for Bashar al-Assad's government to be punished with military force, but reports indicate the country’s constitution means it is highly unlikely that any such action would be put to a wider democratic vote.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will meet parliament leaders later today to discuss the crisis, and the head of parliament's foreign affairs committee Elisabeth Guigou said this would include the presentation of French intelligence which pointed clearly to Assad's forces being behind the attack.

And Le Journal du Dimanche published claims from a declassified French intelligence document - confirmed as authentic by a government official - which said Syria's chemical weapons arsenal included sarin, VX nerve agent and mustard gas.

Syria had about 1,000 tonnes of chemical weapons, one of the world's largest such arsenals, which could be delivered with long-range missiles, aerial bombardments or short-range artillery, according to the document.

Elsewhere, China has urged the US not to act alone in trying to punish the Syrian government for its alleged involvement in the incident, after its foreign ministry said today Washington had briefed Beijing over the matter.

China has so far joined Russia in blocking UN action against the regime, and spokesman Hong Lei said any response must conform to the UN Charter and the basic principles underlying international relations.

The UN’s refugee agency today released its latest statistics regarding those displaced by the country’s ongoing civil war.

The organisation’s head Tarik Kurdi said seven million Syrians, almost a third of the entire population, have been forced to move as a result of the violence.

He said around two million had been made to flee into neighbouring countries, and also that two million children were among the overall total impacted by the conflict.

Mr Kuri said UN assistance had thus far been a “drop in the sea of humanitarian need”, and that international donations would have to be more than trebled to meet the basic requirements helping those displaced by the brutal war.

More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising against President Assad began in 2011.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis