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UN due to hold emergency session on Syria talks after U.S. strike

The UN Security Council is due to hold an emergency session on Syria on Friday, after a U.S. strike against a Syrian airbase.

The Syrian airbase that was suspected of being the launch pad for a chemical weapons attack that has shocked observers around the world.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the missile attack against an airbase in western Syria overnight in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack earlier this week that he described as “an affront to humanity’’ carried out deliberately by Syria.

The Security Council talks would be held in a public session, at the insistence of the U.S., which holds the rotating council presidency this month.

“Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear,’’ U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said, in a swipe at Russia and China, which have blocked resolutions condemning Syria.

Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, vowed to strengthen Syria’s air defenses following the U.S. strike.

The Syrian military said that at least six people were killed and heavy damage was inflicted on the Shayrat airbase in central Syria.

Another nine civilians, including four children, were killed by missiles that fell in villages near the base, in the central province of Homs, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Trump was expected to address the strikes as he held talks in Florida with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and U.S. lawmakers were also due to be briefed on the situation later on Friday.

Russia has also demanded an emergency meeting of the United Nations ceasefire task force in Geneva to discuss U.S. missile strikes on Syria.

Such meetings are chaired by UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and were set up in early 2016 with joint U.S.-Russian backing.

They are a forum for diplomats to talk about breaches of Syria’s shaky ceasefire.

“Moscow wants the meeting to be held in Geneva today at 1500 GMT”, the source told RIA.

The source added that the task force would discuss “the situation on the ground with connection to the U.S. missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase.”

The U.S. fired cruise missiles earlier on Friday at the base from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched.

 


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