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Russia blocks UN condemnation of Syria gas attack

[JURIST] Russia vetoed [UN press release] a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) [official website] resolution on Wednesday that would have condemned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's [official website] use of neurologic gas against the Syrian town Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. The gas attack [Reuters report] prompted a responsive bombing by the United States against a Syrian airbase, increasing the rift between the US and Russia. Now, Russia has vetoed a resolution backed by the US, France and Britain to force al-Assad to cooperate with international inquiries into the incident. This was the eighth time Russia has acted in Syria's favor on the UNSC.

The war in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] continues to have a significant impact, particularly in the region of Aleppo. Hearings began [JURIST report] in Spain earlier this week regarding potential war crimes committed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. The case is a result of a Spanish national's brother being abducted and tortured in Damascus before being executed in 2013. Also earlier this week, the UNSC met for emergency talks regarding an alleged chemical attack in Syria that killed numerous civilians [JURIST report]. In February, according to Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government carried out [JURIST report] "coordinated chemical attacks" on rebel-controlled portions of Aleppo.

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