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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

A look at Syria developments around the world

Friday, 30 August 2013 01:50 Published in National News

United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack.

 

Here's a look at key Syria developments around the world Thursday and Friday amid heightened tensions over potential military action:

 

SYRIA:

 

Assad said his country "will defend itself against any aggression," signaling defiance to mounting Western warnings of a possible punitive strike. U.N. chemical weapons inspectors toured stricken rebel-held areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus for a third day.

 

BRITAIN:

 

The British Parliament voted down endorsing military action against Syria, despite a strong push by Prime Minister David Cameron to support potential U.S. strikes against Assad. British Defense Minister Philip Hammond confirmed that the country's forces would not be involved in any strike.

 

FRANCE:

 

The French military is ready to commit forces to an operation in Syria if President Francois Hollande approves it, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. Hollande, who met with the head of the Syrian opposition, stopped short of announcing a military intervention.

 

UNITED NATIONS:

 

A meeting of the U.N. Security Council's permanent members ended quickly with no sign of progress on an agreement over Syria's crisis. U.N. experts in Syria are expected to leave the country Saturday.

 

ISRAEL:

 

Thousands of Israelis crowded gas-mask distribution facilities to get free masks, fearing Israel could be targeted in retaliation by Syria if it is attacked. A mob forcibly took gas masks from a distribution center in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Officers were deployed to maintain order Thursday in Haifa, where more than 5,000 people waited for protective kits.

 

TURKEY:

 

Officials placed Turkey on alert against possible chemical attacks from Syria and stocked food and gas masks along their shared border. Bunkers were designated in seven border areas to protect people in the area.

 

IRAN:

 

President Hassan Rouhani said his country will press forward with efforts to ward off military action by the U.S. and its allies against the Tehran-backed Syrian regime.

 

UNITED STATES:

 

White House officials said President Barack Obama was preparing for the possibility of launching unilateral American military action against Syria within days, after the British Parliament rejected sending that country's forces to support a military strike. Obama also spoke by phone with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who has asked the president to make a sharper case on the legal justification for any military strike in Syria and its objective. The administration shared intelligence with lawmakers aimed at convincing them Syria's government used chemical weapons in last week's attack.

 

RUSSIA:

 

Russia's foreign ministry asked the U.N. to continue its inspection of places where chemical weapons might have been used in Syria. A foreign minister spokesman said the team should inspect three other locations, including a suburb of Aleppo, where the government in Damascus alleges the rebels have used poisoned gas.

 

GERMANY:

 

A poll by ZDF television found that a majority of Germans oppose Western military intervention in Syria and don't want their country to provide backing for any U.S.-led strike.

 

LEBANON:

 

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said any international military action against Syria would pose a "serious threat" to the security and stability of the region, particularly Lebanon.

 

EGYPT:

 

Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy said his country strongly opposes military action against Syria and would not support possible punitive strikes by the U.S. and its allies.

 

ROMANIA:

 

Romania's foreign ministry told its citizens in Syria to leave the country "as soon as possible." They were told to get out via Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

   One more obstacle to the proposed Ellisville Walmart is out of the way.  An appeals court has sided with the developer after a resident had sued the city for issuing a conditional use permit to for construction of the 155,000 square foot retail store.  

   Thomas DeBold had sued claimed that city officials had ignored resident's concerns and that the Walmart will negatively impact traffic, overtax utilities and city services.  Circuit Court Judge David Lee Vincent had sided with the city, and the appeals court upheld Vincent's ruling.  

   But it may be too little too late, since the permit expires September 5th and the Ellisville City Council last week declined to extend it.  

   A group of home-schooled students will face a new test Saturday when they play their first ever high school football game.  

   The Central Panthers junior-varsity team is the brainchild of Coach Bob Schembre, an associate pastor at Rockport Baptist Church in Arnold.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Schembre formed the Mid-East Missouri Homeschool Football Association and the team in the spring after discovering interest among families in his church who home-school.  

   The 14 boys, mostly 12-14 year olds, will play both offense and defense when the Panthers travel to Clarksville, Missouri to play the Clopton-Elsberry Indian Hawks.

   Schembre told the paper that next year, he hopes to add a North team of players from O’Fallon, Wentzville and St. Charles, and a South team with players from the Jackson and Cape Girardeau areas. He'd also like to add a varsity team next year.

 

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