MESOP INSIGHT SYRIA : Russia supports UN probe of possible chemical attack in Syria / WHATEVER THE RESULT IS – THE OTHERS DID IT !

Moscow announced support for a UN investigation into Wednesday’s attack, joining a chorus of international calls for both the Assad regime and Syrian opposition to facilitate an independent inquiry. According to a statement released on Friday by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the “Russian side called on the Syrian government to cooperate with the UN chemical experts” immediately following reports about Wednesday’s attack.

The statement also said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed that the two powers had a “mutual interest” in calling for an objective UN inquiry. China has also backed the UN probe, but cautioned that “all sides should avoid prejudging the outcome.” In an interview with CNN on Friday, President Barack Obama called the possible use of chemical weapons a “big event of grave concern” that “is going to require America’s attention.” While the United States, United Nations, and European Union have called for a swift investigation into Wednesday’s attack, all have urged caution in forming a response. Obama told CNN that the United States would carefully weigh a response and must “think through strategically what’s going to be in our long-term national interests” before action is taken.” Syrian opposition activists say hundreds died in Wednesday’s attack, and images have emerged showing mass casualties — including many children. On Friday, the United Nations refugee agency estimated that the number of Syrian child refugees now exceeds 1 million, or over half of the total 1.9 million Syrian refugees in the region. A further 2 million children are displaced inside Syria, according to the United Nations.