(Israel also claimed their intel showed the attack was Syrian government forces)
France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that the chemical analysis of samples taken from a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria earlier this month “bears the signature” of President Bashar Assad’s government and shows it was responsible for the deadly assault.
According to Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, France came to this conclusion after comparing samples from a sarin attack in Syria from 2013 that matched the new ones. The findings came in a 6-page report published Wednesday.
The Kremlin promptly denounced the French report, saying the samples and the fact the nerve agent was used are not enough to prove who was behind it. Assad has repeatedly denied that his forces used chemical weapons and claimed that myriad evidence of a poison gas attack is made up.
SEOUL (Reuters) – The U.S. military started moving parts of an anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea on Wednesday, triggering protests from villagers and criticism from China, amid tension over North Korea’s weapons development.
The earlier-than-expected steps to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was also denounced by the frontrunner in South Korea’s presidential election on May 9.
South Korea’s defense ministry said elements of THAAD were moved to the deployment site, on what had been a golf course, about 250 km (155 miles) south of the capital, Seoul.
“South Korea and the United States have been working to secure an early operational capability of the THAAD system in response to North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threat,” the ministry said in a statement.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf, an American official said on Wednesday, the latest tense naval encounter between the two countries.
The incident happened Monday as the vessel attempted to draw closer to the USS Mahan despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it, said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
Since the nuclear deal with world powers, the hard-line Revolutionary Guard has stepped up its encounters with the Americans. The Navy recorded 35 instances of what it describes as “unsafe and/or unprofessional” interactions with Iranians forces in 2016, compared to 23 in 2015. With Monday’s event, there have been seven so far in 2017, McConnaughey said.
(It is a dead cert that this number will be dwarfed by the number of Africans and muslims who entered Europe in 2016 and remain there)
The European Union’s statistical agency says European countries granted refugee status or some other protection to more than 700,000 people last year, most of them Syrians.
Eurostat said Wednesday that the 28 EU member countries gave protection to 710,400 asylum-seekers in 2016, more than double the number the previous year. It came after more than a million people entered Europe, most fleeing conflict in Syria or Iraq but some also looking for jobs.
Eurostat said that 405,600 people were Syrians, 65,800 were Iraqis and 61,800 Afghans.
More than 70 percent of the Syrians were offered protection by Germany. Sweden took in almost 45,000
(The bookies are likely tilting the odds toward the likelihood that the majority indeed are not Syrians at all, but Pakistanis, Afghans, and Maghrebis)
Thank you Richard, Xanthippa, M., and all who sent in materials for this post.
It is going to be an interesting week.