UN nixes Russian text on Syria gas attack probe

The latest on the developments in Syria (all times local):

1:15 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian resolution that would have welcomed an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into a suspected poison gas attack in the suburbs of Syria’s capital.

The resolution needed nine “yes” votes and no veto to be adopted. In late Tuesday’s vote in the 15-member council, five countries voted in favor, four voted against and six abstained.

British Ambassador Karen Pierce said the U.K. opposed the resolution because an OPCW investigative team is already headed to Syria and the Russian text did not include a new body to determine accountability for chemical weapons attacks.

Earlier Tuesday, the council failed to approve rival U.S. and Russian resolutions to establish a new body to assess blame.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia expressed regret and urged the U.S. and U.K. to refrain from action against Syria.


11:45 p.m.

A retired Russian general says any clash between the U.S. and Russia in Syria would quickly escalate beyond the region.

Retired Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky is the former chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s international department. He said in televised remarks Tuesday that Russian advisers are deployed across Syria and could be hurt by a U.S. strike.

He warned that “any Russia-U.S. military clash will expand beyond a local conflict and a confrontation will be inevitable.”

The chief of the Russian military’s General Staff made similar comments earlier.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov. Gerasimov also noted that Russian military officers are present at Syrian facilities, and he warned that “if a threat to our servicemen emerges, the Russian armed forces will take retaliatory measures against both missiles and their carriers.”


11:20 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian resolution that would have created a new expert body to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The resolution needed at least nine “yes” votes in the 15-member council for approval, but only six countries voted in favor. Seven council members, including the U.S., Britain and France, voted against the proposal and two abstained.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the draft resolution was not impartial or independent since it would allow Russia to veto investigators and staff for the new body — and to block its findings.

She accused Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government, of repeatedly shielding President Bashar Assad instead of working for Security Council unity.