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After Russian warnings, US to probe its fighters in Syria
May 23, 2014, 8:31 am

Moscow had repeatedly warned that “extremists and terrorists call the tune increasingly in different Syrian regions.” [AP]

Moscow had repeatedly warned that “extremists and terrorists call the tune increasingly in different Syrian regions.” [AP]

US officials on Thursday announced they will scrutinize US citizens in the Syrian rebel groups after months of ignoring Russian warnings on the “outburst of terrorism” in the region. On Thursday, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution intended to refer the Syrian civil war to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A Reuters report on Thursday said that an expert group under the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing American fighters traveling to Syria to fight against the Assad regime.

James Comey, director of the FBI had said earlier this month that the number of those joining the al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria is growing in the United States.

Moscow had repeatedly warned that “extremists and terrorists call the tune increasingly in different Syrian regions.”

The task of combating terrorism is “becoming higher priority with due account of the scale of terrorism threat that grows in Syria and already spreads on Iraq,” Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this year.

Thursday’s UNSC draft resolution, proposed by France, received 13 votes in favor and two against.

The vote at the 15-nation UN body made it a fourth double veto by Russia and China on a West-drafted resolution on Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had said during his high-powered two-day trip to China this week that the two allies “successfully cooperate in the international arena and closely coordinate their steps to address international challenges and crises”.

The Sino-Russian partnership has reached “the highest level in all its centuries-long history”, Putin claimed.

Syria is not a state party to the Rome Statute which established the ICC, so the only way the Middle East country can be referred to The Hague-based tribunal is by the Security Council.

Under the UN Charter, the adoption of a draft resolution requires nine votes in favor and the absence of a negative vote by any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Following the vote, Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador, said at the Security Council that the vetoed draft resolution, if adopted, would “lay the ground for the eventual outside military intervention” in Syria.

“It is striking that there is not a single word on the political settlement and the negotiation process among the Syrians ” mentioned in a communique at the end of the May 15 meeting on Syria in London, he said.

The Thursday vote came just days before international Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is scheduled to step down on May 31.

 

TBP and Agencies

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