Moscow, Tehran, Damascus seek on-site probe into Syria gassing

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C), his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) leave a hall after a joint press conference after their talks in Moscow on April 14, 2017.

The Trump administration has said it already had the authority to conduct last week's missile strikes in Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack there, which gives Republican leaders political cover to argue that a vote on the military action is not necessary.

Sergey Lavroy, Russian Foreign Minister, hosted a trilateral meeting with Iran and Syria expressing his concerns on the matter.

Lavrov said Assad's opponents had "in essence" given guarantees for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to visit the location where at least 87 people died, but the watchdog was refusing to send them. It was Assad's first since the alleged April 4 chemical weapons attack prompted a USA cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base. Putin's military backing of Assad has been crucial in keeping the regime in power after six years of civil war.

"We have reiterated our position and were united in stating that the attack was an act of aggression, which blatantly violated the principles of global law and the UN Charter", Lavrov said.

Makki further criticized Britain and France for supporting the anti-Damascus allegations over the suspected chemical attack, arguing that the backing comes at the same as neither a British nor a French expert has paid a visit to the town of Khan Shaykhun.

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The U.S. accuses Assad of deliberately launching the attack.

The comments were Assad's fullest since the April 4 chemical assault on the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Moscow has warned against putting the blame on Damascus until an independent inquiry is conducted and vetoed a proposed United Nations resolution on the attack, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the affected area. The meeting would also create another opportunity for the Turkish government to discuss potential American contribution or even involvement in Turkey's preparations for potential action against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in Iraq's Sinjar province on the Syrian border.

"In recent days, the progress in all directions has been threatened as a result of the incident in Idlib followed by an United States illegitimate move - a strike on military airfield of Syrian armed forces", Lavrov added, RIA Novosti reported.

A weapons researcher who served in the Syrian military claims Syria's president Bashar al-Assad still possesses hundreds of tons of chemical weapons, the Telegraph reported Saturday.