Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Syria 'chemical attack': Trump decision on strike 'fairly soon'

Syria 'chemical attack': Trump decision on strike 'fairly soon'

"We are continuing to asses intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday, noting Trump's calls with May and Macron. Opposition activists and rescuers say at least 40 people were killed.

She has cast the attack in Douma, which was held at the time by rebels, as barbaric.

But at UN, French Ambassador Francois Delattre warned that Syria's government had reached a "point of no return" by using chemical weapons and vowed to confront the "intolerable threat" of such attacks to global security.

Japan plans to avoid expressing direct support for actual USA military action against Syria, in an attempt to avoid damaging negotiations with Russian Federation over a decadeslong territorial row, government sources said Thursday.

In the earlier tweet, Trump warned Russian Federation, an ally of Syria, to "get ready" for "nice and new and 'smart!'" missiles. In April 2017, as he contemplated a strike in Syria, Trump said, "One of the things I think you've noticed about me is: Militarily, I don't like to say where I'm going and what I'm doing".

Initially, a presidential spokesperson said the "Syrian regime will have to pay a price" for the Douma incident; but, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said the US and Russian Federation should end their "street fighting" over Syria.

Mattis spoke before a House Armed Services Committee hearing a day after Trump taunted Russian Federation, warning of an attack in Syria.

"We continue to consider it extremely important to avoid any steps that could lead to more tension in Syria", Mr Peskov said.

In 2013, MPs blocked David Cameron from joining USA forces after another chemical attack.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova posted on Facebook that "Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legitimate government that has been fighting worldwide terrorism for several years on its territory".

Since Trump's warning, the Syrian military has moved assets around in an attempt to shield them from United States missiles, possibly by putting them under Russian protection. The U.S. and its allies said Assad's government had used sarin gas.

Macron said France had proof the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the chemical weapons attack, adding that his government will not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

A USA official told Reuters the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The White House said Trump would talk to British and French leaders later on Thursday.

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