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Members of the United Nations Security Council address a resolution to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria during a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia cast its 10th veto on Thursday of United Nations Security Council action on Syria since the war began in 2011, blocking a U.S.-drafted resolution to renew an international inquiry into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The mandate for the joint inquiry by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires at midnight Thursday.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted. Russia withdrew its rival draft resolution to renew the inquiry shortly before the council vote on the U.S. draft.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Reuters