Syria asks U.N. council to prevent new U.S. attacks

A052558911.jpgUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Syria called on the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to take action to prevent a repeat of a weekend U.S. attack on Syrian territory, and to hold the United States accountable.

The United States has declined officially to confirm or deny U.S. involvement in the raid close to Syria’s border with Iraq, in which residents and Syrian officials say U.S. troops landed by helicopter and killed eight civilians on Sunday.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari condemned the “flagrant act of aggression” in duplicate letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui, current president of the Security Council.

In the letters, obtained by Reuters, he asked Ban and the council “to assume their responsibility to prevent any repetition of this grave violation and to hold the aggressor accountable for the killing of innocent Syrian civilians.”

Ja’afari said the raid “indicates that the current United States administration is determined to pursue the policy that has brought only death and destruction to the region.”

He also called on the Iraqi government to carry out a full investigation of the raid and ensure that its territory was not used in future for launching such attacks.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said the raid by U.S. forces was believed to have killed a major al Qaeda operative who had helped smuggle foreign fighters into Iraq. Damascus has denied that.

Ja’afari, speaking to reporters, declined to say whether he wanted the Security Council to issue a statement of condemnation or if he wanted a resolution, which would be a much stronger form of protest. He said it was up to the council president to decide what action was appropriate.

However, the Syrian envoy said he wanted the council to hold the United States responsible “politically” and “legally.”

The United States, like Britain, France, China and Russia, is a permanent veto-wielding member of the council and can prevent it from taking any steps in response to the incident.

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