United Nations chief: Syria tensions 'threaten full-blown military escalation

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Commenting about the atrocious gang rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa in Jammu's Kathua district, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the heinous act "horrific" and asked that the guilty be brought to justice.

I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility.

As it was reported earlier, Russian Federation blocked the USA draft resolution on the creation of a new investigative scheme for incidents in Syria.

Erdogan also told reporters on Friday that tensions between the two countries over a suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma now seem to have eased.

"We continue to observe unsafe military preparations for an illegal act of force against a sovereign state, in what would constitute a breach of worldwide law", said Vasily Nebenzya, Russian Ambassador to the UN.

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said in a statement to the official STA news agency that "due to the Syria crisis", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cancelled his planned visit to Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.

The three allies have not given up on a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

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The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is deepening again, he said.

The Government, however, said evacuations from Douma were ongoing and no Syrian Government forces had entered the town.

China has reiterated calls for restraint and investigation to avoid war in Syria, emphasizing that the country's sovereignty must be respected and that thorough and impartial investigations are needed before jumping to conclusions about the alleged use of chemical weapons.

However, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck a more cautious tone later on Wednesday, saying that Washington was still assessing intelligence on the suspected toxic gas attack.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - the body monitoring and facilitating implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997 - has dispatched a fact-finding mission to Syria in response to latest allegations of chemical weapons use.

"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience", Mr Lavrov told a news conference on Friday.

Moscow circulated a draft resolution that condemns the "aggression" against Syria and demands that the allies refrain from any further strikes.

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