Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Russian rouble and stocks slide on new sanctions fears, lower oil

Russian rouble and stocks slide on new sanctions fears, lower oil

The US, France, and Britain announced a joint operation against Syria's government, a week after a suspected chemical attack outside the capital Damascus left more than 40 people dead.

U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the allied airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. Russia's insistent warnings that a USA airstrike could bring Russian retaliation - and the United States' apparent effort to avoid threatening Russian assets in its assault - showed that strategy at work.

The nighttime Syria assault was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Syria's key ally, Russia, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

SIMON: Charles, remind us, again, what is the Russian interest in Syria? The U.S. goal was to break the Syrian alliance with Iran and Russia, Glass said.

The strikes targeted three sites believed to be where the Syrian government develops chemical weapons.

The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for the alleged chemical attack, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

Russian Federation had convened the Security Council on Saturday to discuss the airstrikes by the U.S., Britain and France on sites in Syria believed to be stockpiling and creating chemical weapons.

Assad, Putin, Rouhani and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah have accused the West of using the strikes to sabotage an worldwide inquiry into the chemical weapons claims.

For more on the U.S. -led strikes on Syria, CGTN's Susan Roberts spoke with Peter Bechtold, former director for Near East and North African studies at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute.


Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and they agreed the Western airstrikes were an "illegal action. adversely impacting prospects for political settlement in Syria", a Kremlin statement said.

In an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation", Haley said that the sanctions would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Haley said the three US goals for accomplishing its mission are making sure chemical weapons are not used in a way that could harm USA national interests, defeating the Islamic State group and having a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

The Russian rouble and shares in some of Russia's biggest companies slid lower today, dragged down by the threat of new U.S. sanctions and lower oil prices.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said its partners reported some 500 people there had exhibited "signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals". Speaking from rebel-held northern Syria, Abdulrazek told The Associated Press there were perhaps 50 warehouses in Syria that stored chemical weapons before the program was dismantled in 2013.

Barzah is the location of a major Syrian scientific research center.

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no USA or allies missiles were stopped.

"These strikes are not seeking to escalate the conflict in Syria, but these violations of global law and norms can not be allowed to continue".

Talking to reporters the morning after, the Prime Minister stated the army strikes on Syria have been "restricted and focused" and created to degrade the Syrian regime's capability to develop and use chemical weapons.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing criticism over her decision to bypass parliament and take part in the air strikes.

MAYNES: Well, it was, and it still is, I think.

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