The G7 nations have rejected Britain’s call to impose sanctions against Russia in the view of the deadly chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in the north-west of Syria that led to the killing of over 80 people.
At the G7 Foreign Minister’s meet in the Italian city of Lucca on 10 April 2017, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson raised the point that Russia’s support for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was toxifying for its reputation and suggested that sanctions should be imposed on Moscow if it refused to change its course.
Johnson had wished to project a united stance of the west on the subject, especially ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
However, this call was rejected by the foreign ministers of all the other G7 nations with Italy’s Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano stating that the group did not want to back Russia into a corner and hurt efforts to press Moscow to bring Assad back on to the negotiating table. The Ministers were all of the opinion that the attack was carried out by Syria.
Meanwhile, Russia has rejected claims that suggest Syrian President is behind the attack and has said that it will not cut ties with Assad. In fact, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation into the chemical attack.
The chemical attack was followed by a retaliatory strike by the US, which including firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase. All the G7 nations gave their full support to the missile strike, as the airbase is where the chemical attack is believed to have originated.
The nations were also completely united in their condemnation of Assad and agreed that no solution could be arrived at in the Syrian war crisis while Bashar al- Assad remained in power.
The Chemical attack: as it happened!
• Over 80 were killed in Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel-controlled town in the north-west of Syria, after a suspected chemical attack.
• While Syria has denied using any chemical ammunition, its ally Russia in one of its statements said that an air strike had hit a depot full of chemical ammunitions.
• Witnesses claim to have seen a yellow mushroom cloud in the air that stung their eyes.
• Post the attack, the victims many of whom were children were found lying on the ground choking, unable to move.
• Most symptoms seen in those affected included redness in the eyes, constricted pupils, foaming, blue facial skin and lips and severe shortness of breath.
• In total, over 80 people are reported to be dead including 33 children and 18 women and around 540 are reported to be injured.
According to the doctors, the victims show symptoms that are similar to the reaction to a nerve agent called Sarin. If confirmed, the attack would fall among the worst incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war history.