Last updated: 5 September, 2013

Russia to highlight Syria strike risks at UN nuclear meeting

Russia said Thursday it would warn a meeting of the UN’s atomic watchdog next week that any US military strikes in Syria could hit a nuclear research reactor there.

“Russia will for sure raise this topic at the autumn session of the board of governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opening on September 9 in Vienna,” a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Russia warned on Wednesday that US military strikes in Syria could have “catastrophic” consequences for nuclear safety if they hits a research reactor in the suburbs of Damascus.

Moscow, which has supported the regime of Bashar al-Assad throughout the two-and-a-half-year conflict, called on IAEA to “quickly react” to the situation and provide its country members with an analysis of risks linked to the possible use of force against Syria.

The United States has said it is prepared to launch strikes in Syria without UN approval in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people.

But US President Barack Obama is first seeking approval from lawmakers who are expected to vote on his request next week.