The UN Security Council appeared headed for a new confrontation over Syria on Wednesday after Britain said it would introduce a resolution accusing the Syrian government of a deadly chemical weapons attack last week and authorizing the use of force in that conflict, a measure Russia was almost certain to block.
The Russians, who are the Syrian government’s most powerful foreign allies, argued that it was premature to even talk about such a resolution while UN inspectors were on the ground in Syria investigating the allegations surrounding the Aug. 21 attack in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus. Opposition figures and rights groups have said that hundreds of civilians were killed.
That attack has galvanized Western efforts that could lead to a military strike on Syria.
Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, added a new level of complexity to the issue Wednesday, announcing that he had submitted evidence of three previously unreported instances of chemical weapons use in Syria, which he asserted had been carried out by Syrian insurgents. Jaafari said the Syrian government had requested that the UN investigators expand their inquiry to include those events as well, which could lengthen their stay in the country.
Jaafari repeated the Syrian government’s denials that it had ever used chemical weapons in the conflict and said the accusations were a conspiracy by Western nations acting on Israel’s behalf.