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

US President Donald Trump pondering missile attack on Syria

US President Donald Trump pondering missile attack on Syria

Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria.

"The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people....this persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped... because we can not allow the erosion of the worldwide norm that prevents the use of these weapons", she said.

On Friday night, Trump said that the us was not seeking an "indefinite" presence in Syria. Perhaps in preparation for a strike, Syria repositioned some of its aircraft from bases earlier in the week, a US official told ABC News.

Speaking from the White House, Trump said, "To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

Trump chastised Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran, for their roles in supporting "murderous dictators", and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed a 2013 global agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons.

Trump's threat of retaliatory military action prompted a slew of Russian comments warning that USA strikes could trigger a direct military clash between them.

With a mix of fear and defiance, Syrians braced yesterday for a possible US attack in retaliation for an alleged chemical assault that killed dozens over the weekend. Just over a year ago, on April 6, he ordered missile strikes on an airbase that was where the chemical weapons attack was launched.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK. Trump said that the attack is a "combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom".

Mr Peskov would not say if Moscow could use a Russia-US military hotline to avoid casualties in a case of a US strike, saying only that "the hotline exists and has remained active". This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which the United States government had video and other evidence of certain aspects of an actual attack by Syrian aircraft, which involved the use of sarin gas.

"I will tell you that, first of all, did a chemical weapons attack happen?"

Three rival draft resolutions to investigate suspected chemical-weapons attacks in Syria failed to pass in the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

The ministers, who were called from their Easter holiday for the meeting, agreed with May that the use of chemical weapons must not "go unchallenged", a Downing Street spokeswoman said in the statement. But afterward the White House said that "no final decision has been made".

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who voted against military action in 2013, said "we've got to make this judgment on a very careful, very deliberate, very well thought-through basis, knowing exactly. how strong the evidence is".

Russian officials alleged quickly after last Saturday's suspected attack that the images of victims in Douma were fake.

According to a statement by the French presidency, Mr Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria.

He said he has seen refugees from Asia to Europe, Kosovo to Africa but has never seen refugees as "traumatised as coming out of Syria".

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