US and Russia clash over blame for Syria chemical attacks

US and Russia clash over blame for Syria chemical attacks
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense group and civilians gathering to help survivors from a street attacked by airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Friday, March. 2, 2018. The Russia-ordered pause came after a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a nationwide 30-day cease-fire failed to take hold. While the relentless bombing has somewhat subsided in eastern Ghouta, home to around 400,000 civilians, the Syrian government's push to squeeze the insurgents out of the region continued. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States and Russia are again clashing over an expert body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks in Syria, with Washington circulating a new draft U.N. resolution and Moscow moving toward a vote on its own proposal.

The U.S. and Russia have been lashing out at each other for months over the issue of accountability for chemical attacks in Syria, a close ally of Moscow.

Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution in November that would have extended the mandate of the expert body charged with determining responsibility for chemical attacks.

Moscow circulated a new proposal in January, but Western powers say it gives Syria’s government control over investigations.

The U.S. circulated a proposal, obtained Friday by AP, to establish a new body that would investigate in an “impartial, independent” manner.