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Russia vetoes UN Security Council investigation into Syria chemical weapons attacks

[JURIST] Russia on Tuesday vetoed [press release] the UN Security Council's resolution [press release] to extend the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) [official website] investigation into the Syria chemical-weapons attack.

In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that the Syrian government conducted "coordinated chemical attacks" on rebel-controlled portions of Aleppo. In the same report, HRW alleged that Russia has aligned itself with the Assad regime impeding UN investigations into the attacks.

Further reports of chemical weaponry [JURIST report] being used were provided in September by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic [official website].

Eleven members of the 15-member council voted in favor of the resolution. Russia, a permanent member, and Bolivia voted "no." China and Kazakhstan abstained. A veto from one of the permanent members means a resolution cannot be adopted.

In April Russia vetoed [JURIST report] a resolution 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, which prompted a responsive bombing by the US against a Syrian airbase.

The resolution would have extended the investigation for another year.

The mandate allowing OPCW to investigation in the attack expires November 17.

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