United Nations braces for likely Russian veto of Syria gas attacks probe

Russia Demands that US Respect Agreement on Antiterrorism in Syria

"I hope we can come together before the end of tomorrow (Thursday) to reach an agreement that allows it to carry on its work in a professional, independent, scientific and de-politicized way".

Jaberi Ansari, for his part, said Syria's resilience and the consecutive successes it has achieved on the war on terrorism as well as the restoration of security to all the Syrian cities and areas would be a victory not only to the Syrian people, but also to the Iranian people and all other peoples who believe in their right to defending their countries, independence and sovereign decision.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has been sharply critical of Russia's handling of Assad in the wake of the April chemical attacks.

Describing Iran, Russia and Turkey as the three "guarantor" countries, he said the talks would look at what they could do for a lasting political solution in Syria. "The draft text Russian Federation put forward without any negotiation is unhelpful, has no support, and can not be taken seriously".

During a council vote in late October, Russia vetoed a US-drafted resolution on a one-year extension, arguing that it did not want to decide on the fate of the panel before the Khan Sheikhun report.

Russian Federation has sharply criticized the JIM after its latest report blamed the Syrian air force for a sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun that left scores dead.

Nebenzia said Monday, "It is important that the JIM is renewed but on an updated mandate because the systemic errors that we saw with the recent report should be corrected, and that's the aim of our resolution".

Previous reports by the JIM have found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015, and that the Islamic State (IS) militant group used mustard gas in 2015. She accused Moscow of "killing" the resolution, which had received backing from most members of the UN Security Council, and of "undermining" the UN's ability to prevent chemical attacks in the future.

Washington and its allies have blamed Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation.

"It's absolutely crucial for the mandate to be renewed", Matthew Rycroft, the United Kingdom ambassador to the UN, told reporters Wednesday.

"What is at stake is the professional, independent, objective, scientific, nonpartisan, depoliticized JIM which we've now got, which we've had before, and which we need in the future", Rycroft said.

The cooperation comes despite Turkey still officially being on an opposite side of the Syria conflict from Russian Federation and Iran. That averted a USA military strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.